The network

Refugee and migrant arrivals to Europe by sea

About a million refugees have reached Europe by sea as of end December, more than four times the total arrivals in 2014, data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shows.

Destination countries

The influx of refugee and migrants increased notably in the first half of 2015, especially for Greece.

Migrant sea arrivals in Italy and Greece

Regional breakdown for Italy is as of September 30, for Greece, as of October 26.


By end of 2015, more than 3,700 migrants and refugees have perished in attempts to reach Europe by boat, surpassing the 3,279 fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2014, latest data from the International Organization for Migration shows. About 800 perished in a single shipwreck in April 2015 alone.


Of the migrants that died, most of the identified seem to be originating in Sub-Saharan Africa.

How the Mediterranean compares

The Mediterranean crossing is by far the most dangerous in the world.

Asylum seekers in Europe


From January to August 2015,
(unless indicated otherwise*)


**Latest data available for Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, France, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Austria, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Finland, UK, and Iceland is for July. Latest data available for Spain, Cyprus and Liechtenstein is for the month of June. Eurostat data as of Oct. 2

Asylum applications

European countries received about 664,000 asylum applications in 2014, of those, Sweden and Germany, which have populations of just 10 million and more than 81 million respectively, received more than 40% of the total applications, according to data from the European Commission.

Country Applicants Applicants per million Decided Cases Success Rate*

*Percentage accepted of decided cases

Europe’s open borders

The influx of migrants arriving from the east is a crisis for the European Union, which has eliminated border controls between 26 "Schengen area" states but requires asylum seekers to apply in the first EU country they reach - something that is often ignored as migrants race from the fringes of the bloc to its more prosperous heart.


Spreading the refugee load

The European Union approved a plan on to share out 120,000 refugees across its 28 states, overriding vehement opposition from Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. The remaining 54,000, that under the Commission proposal would have been relocated from Hungary, will after one year also be proportionally relocated from Italy and Greece to other Member States unless the situation on the ground changes.

Based on the 120,000 asylum applicants which arrived in Greece, Italy, and Hungary*, plus the 40,000 applicants from Greece and Italy in the May proposal. Data will be amended to take into account the participation of Norway and Switzerland.
* Arrivals in Italy and Greece between July and August 2015, and in Hungary in 2015. ** Includes relocations to Hungary. As Hungary requested not to be included as beneficiary of the relocation scheme, the Council agreed that other Member States could benefit instead. UK, Ireland, and Denmark are exempt from the scheme.

The proposed distribution key is based on the size of the population (40%), the total GDP (40% ), the average number of asylum applications over the previous four years (10%), and the unemployment rate (10%).

Sources: European Commission; International Centre for Migration Policy Development (Map data); International Organization for Migration; Eurostat; UNHCR
Graphics by Chris Inton, Matthew Weber, Vincent Flasseur, Simon Scarr, Gustavo Cabrera and Travis Hartman