The Refugee Crisis in Europe and its Social Affects

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a refugee is defined as an individual who is “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”. Granting asylum to those who so need it has been a convention that has been practiced for so many years. Unfortunately, the aiding of refugees comes with its costs.

The presence of refugees within a country affect the economic, environmental, social, and  the political hardships that are already existing within the country. We have seen previous conflict stem from the mere presence of having multiple social groups within one geographical location. If we take a look at the Sunni and Shia denominations of Islam for example, violence has plagued these two groups for many years, stemming from the migration of the Shia Iranians into Iraq in the 16th century.

In addition to the preexisting problems that the host country may have, an influx of refugees may continue to strengthen those problems. For example, many host countries implement programs and services for the incoming refugees, and this has been seen to have a negative effect on the surrounding communities because the citizens do not have the same opportunities to receive these free services such as healthcare and education.

Fortunately, with the problems that countries encounter when taking in refugees, the refugees also provide certain benefits. With these new people coming into a different country, they bring with them a different culture, creating a ‘melting pot’ of knowledge and skills, potentially aiding the society itself.


7 thoughts on “The Refugee Crisis in Europe and its Social Affects

  1. These facts here are hard to dispute, in Europe the population of Muslims has grown tremendously it is hard to imagine how these host countries will maintain there national identity with so many people coming without work and not being able to speak the language, surely assimilation would be very hard. It is also important to note the threat of terrorists entering these countries posing as refugees.


    • This is an interesting topic for sure! Both the original post and the comment need to, however, provide some evidence to their points and clarify whether concerns about identity or terrorism are actually valid. Without evidence, posts and comments are far less useful for discussion and for understanding these current events.

      Questions that come to mind:

      – Does the presence of multiple ethnic groups in a country necessarily create conflict? We will discuss this in class on Day 17. But here is a preview of some evidence: “ethnic differences are not inevitably, or even commonly, linked to violence on a grand scale.” – read more in “Is Ethnic Conflict Inevitable?”, Habyarimana et al. in Foreign Affairs (2008), at

      – How well-founded is the concern about “terrorists entering these countries posing as refugees”? This is mostly a talking point that came up this week, but it has little grounding in facts. What would be evidence to support this thesis?

      This is why evidence and references are a very important part of writing well. Here is a source with some data to read a bit further from

      Please continue this discussion in the comments (or future posts!) and bring some additional information to this conversation. I look forward to your contributions!


  2. Thank you for your post. I definitely agree on the fact that you provided, but I would like to know how nations in the Europe act on those refugees and how did the attitude on refugees changed. I believe your post could obtain more information if you bring some news sources and referenced it.


  3. Immigration crisis is very big problem, but it is not limited these days. Actually, it is not clear to what extent immigrants or refugees perpetrate a crime, but these people are easily made targets by (extreme-) right parties in Western countries. And when mass media reports party’s opinion, citizens are readily incited to ctiticize for immigrant/refugees, which can support the right parties the more and they again attribute crimes/misdemeanors to immigrant/refugees. And it repeats. That’s why crimes not by immigrants/refugees but by ordinary citizen against immigration policy of some (left) parties occur, as in the case of the Norway attacks in 2011.
    In the Swedish general election of the last September, the (allegedly extreme) right party, Sweden Democrats, made significant headway, and in the Danish general election in June, the anti-immigration party, Danish People’s Party, became the second largest party.
    To understand the immigration problems, we need to focus a bit on the political parties, in my opinion.


  4. I think that countries should see an influx of refugees as a boon. Germany for example is experiencing a population decline with an aging population. It’s also a fact that allowing immigration into a country can improve an economy. If they were able to take in a number of these refugees and help resettle them in their country this might help reverse the population process and stimulate economic growth.


  5. I think “Refugees” is a brokenhearted word because the country give them up to protect or make them to give up to live in there. They really don’t have a place to go. Morally, I cannot accept the country’s policy that not accept them. Some countries may cannot accept them because of situation that under serious economic or other security problem by war. However, rich countries, which denying refugees, seems morally not correct for me. They are human beings as same as their nations. Politicians keep saying that it is not a simple problem to solve easily. But What is more important than life?


  6. Refugees tend to be a sore topic for some. It is always good to assist those in need, but there must also be a consideration of your own personal welfare and resources. There needs to be a balance between helping the many and the few.


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