The European Migrant Crisis: Common Challenge and National Responses

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-1-97-107

Yu. Kvashnin (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.
A. Kuznetsov (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation; 
MGIMO University, 76, Prosp. Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.
O. Trofimova (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.
A. Chetverikova (
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The article reviews changes in migration policy of different European countries as a response to the ongoing refugee crisis. The case study of Greece, Hungary, Germany, Sweden and several other countries located along the so-called Eastern Mediterranean migration route shows that the problems they face, as well as their solutions, vary significantly. These distinctions are caused by a number of factors, such as geographical positions of recipient countries, their demand for new labour force, institutional frameworks and historically developed models of immigrant integration. Transition to the much-needed European migration strategy is impossible without finding a common ground on a number of fundamental issues, including introduction of resettlement quotas, border closings, social benefits to migrants and many other. At the same time, serious contradictions are also observed at the national level. In Sweden, the government changes its refugee admission policy, hastily adopting laws aimed at limiting the influx of migrants. The Greek authorities, which for a long time underestimated the crisis considering that most migrants regarded Greece only as a transit country, after Macedonia’s decision to close its southern borders had to redefine their approaches and appeal to the principle of European solidarity. Considerable contradictions are observed in France which, on the one hand, shows discontent with resettlement quotas, but on the other hand, calls for a more equitable distribution of migrants arriving in Europe. Fluctuations in migration policies at the national level in many respects are caused by the public discontent over the level of immigration and extra expenditure on migration-related issues at the age of austerity. All aforementioned countries demonstrated the growing influence of nationalist and right-wing political forces calling for a more restrictive migration policy. As a result, the national governments in order to retain their public support have to introduce tough measures that undermine supranational level decisions.

Keywords: European Union, migrant crisis, refugees, economic migrants, labour market, Schengen Area, resettlement quotas 


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For citation:
Kvashnin Y., Kuznetsov A., Trofimova O., Chetverikova A. The European Migrant Crisis: Common Challenge and National Responses. World Eсonomy and International Relations, 2017, vol. 61, No 1, pp. 97-107.

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