Our Programmes



Sign up to our newsletter.

Follow ODI

A migration crisis? Facts, challenges and possible solutions

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Victoria Metcalfe-Hough

​Since the beginning of 2014, approximately 800,000 people have arrived at EU borders through irregular channels, fleeing conflict and violence at home or in search of a better life abroad.

This migration surge has become a highly sensitive political issue, generating intense political and public debate and exacerbating pre-existing weaknesses in immigration systems across Europe.

Meanwhile, the lack of an adequate response by EU governments has left hundreds of thousands of refugees and other migrants increasingly vulnerable.

This policy brief outlines key facts relating to the migration crisis and offers suggestions on how governments can mount a more effective response.

Key messages

The current surge in migration to the European Union (EU) is rapidly becoming the largest and most complex facing Europe since the Second World War.

EU governments are facing huge policy and practical challenges in determining and addressing the immediate and longer-term needs of refugees and other migrants.

EU governments must ensure the protection of all migrants, irrespective of their status, and ensure that they are treated in accordance with international law, including with regard to the right to seek asylum.

The EU urgently needs to put in place a coherent, long-term and comprehensive strategy that maximises the benefits of migration and minimises its human and economic costs, included as part of a wider international effort to manage global migration.

Victoria Metcalfe-Hough