|Authors||Philippe FARGUES, Christine FANDRICH|
Although over 450,000 Syrians fled to countries nearby Syria, numbers seeking refuge within the EU remain small. In 2011, a total of 8,920 Syrians applied for asylum within EU borders, while in the first three quarters of 2012 applications increased slightly, reaching a total of 11,573. Only 1,490 irregular entries of Syrians were recorded during the last three quarters of 2011, which rose to 2,739 in the first two quarters of 2012. Numbers of Syrians applying for immigration have also remained negligible. In light of the overall magnitude of the crisis compared with the actual numbers reaching Europe, this paper reviews EU’s response to the crisis. First, it presents the facts: a historical review of displacements from Syria, the numbers, and the route of travel for Syrian refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers to Europe. This is followed by a review of European responses to the Syrian crisis. Finally, the paper concludes with recommendations for addressing the Syrian refugee crisis. In short, the EU could consider: establishing a Regional Protection Programme (RPP) with a large increase of Syrian refugee resettlement as a required component; increasing refugee resettlement for those who have been affected by the Syrian crisis and are the most in need; continue positive asylum procedures throughout the EU, and grant prima facie recognition including provision of sufficient assistance to Syrian asylum seekers; encourage visa facilitation and family reunification for Syrians; and continue to work with its international partners to find a political and humanitarian solution to the Syrian crisis.