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Erik Moberg ©:

1. Introduction

 

We are now, since some years, witnessing migration streams of people of an extraordinary magnitude, length, complexity and dispersion. In the relatively recent past this is a new phenomenon and it is causing most considerable political problems, and drastic political opinion changes, in the destiny countries. But even if this is so it seems to me that these effects of the migration have been much more discussed and debated than its reasons. In a series of texts, among which this is the first one, I therefore intend to focus on the reasons for the migration. What has caused this sudden migration eruption? Which are the basic reasons and mechanisms behind it? These are the questions I intend to deal with. And I will start by giving, in Table 1, a quantitative description of some of the most important migration streams.

 

Table 1: Asylum seekers in the EU/EFTA 2008-17

 

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Afghanistan

11 865

25 020

22 220

30 205

30 350

27 805

42 685

196 215

190 210

49 055

Iraq

32 210

20 940

16 905

16 070

13 835

11 330

21 845

130 335

131 675

52 560

Syria

4 725

5 440

5 645

9 240

25 625

52 695

127 865

383 625

341 965

108 000

Pakistan

10 450

10 135

9 360

16 435

20 040

21 180

22 425

48 680

50 090

31 975

Bangladesh

6 025

6 045

6 230

8 580

6 585

9 355

11 905

19 125

17 280

20 765

Iran

6 030

9 350

11 045

12 590

14 385

13 095

11 185

28 475

42 065

18 840

Nigeria

12 235

12 575

9 080

15 255

10 630

13 905

21 245

32 260

48 880

41 675

Somalia

19 335

21 730

16 100

15 230

17 225

18 770

18 080

22 855

21 770

15 005

Eritrea

9 525

9 705

8 090

10 355

11 925

20 265

46 685

47 025

40 190

29 290

Guinea

3 880

4 855

5 230

6 720

6 055

6 905

6 650

6 415

14 950

19 015

Kosovo

 

14 960

15 150

10 690

10 920

21 150

38 420

73 170

11 960

7 570

Albania

1 210

2 115

1 970

3 185

7 760

11 405

17 300

68 905

32 925

26 050

Serbia

15 665

6 440

18 785

15 585

21 005

22 695

31 120

30 270

13 520

8 305

Macedonia

930

1 025

8 055

6 570

10 785

11 180

10 440

16 110

9 100

6 885

Sri Lanka

6 805

9 015

7 495

7 875

7 890

7 240

6 810

6 395

6 595

5 300

Turkey

7 690

7 665

6 965

7 120

6 825

6 135

5 555

5 485

11 670

16 635

Russia

22 240

21 375

19 535

18 855

24 930

42 135

20 145

22 560

27 760

17 070

Georgia

5 520

11 140

7 605

7 510

11 605

9 815

9 075

8 205

8 840

12 010

Sum 1)

176 340

199 530

195 465

218 070

258 375

327 060

469 435

1 146 110

1 021 445

486 005

Total 2)

257 445

299 950

286 860

342 895

374 640

465 775

663 275

1 394 605

1 293 265

727 805

Percent 3)

68

67

68

64

69

70

71

82

79

67

 

1)      This is the sum of the number of asylum seekers from the countries indicated above.

2)      This is the total number of asylum seekers including all countries of origin.

3)      This is the asylum seekers from the countries indicated as a percentage of the total amount of asylum seekers.

 

Many of the migrating people come from countries in the developing world and move into states in the European Union or EFTA where they are seeking asylum. The table includes all countries of origin of asylum seekers which, in at least one of the years 2008-2017, have been, with respect to the number of asylum seekers, among the top ten ones. In the row labeled “Sum” the sum of asylum seekers from the countries above is indicated. In the row labeled “Total” the total amount of people, from all countries, seeking asylum in the EU/EFTA since 2008, is indicated. In the final row labeled “Percent” the “Sum”, as a percentage of the “Total”, is indicated.

 

We see that–with the slight exception of the passage from 2009 to 2010–the total number of asylum seekers has increased continuously from in 2008 to 2015. But then, in 2016, this trend was broken. Thus, in 2016, there was a small decrease, and then, in 2017, a still larger decrease. And we also see that in 2015 the countries indicated in the table were more dominant than in the preceding years. 82 percent of the asylum seekers came from these countries. Even this figure decreased somewhat in 2016 and still more in 2017. A more vivid picture of these matters is given in Diagram 1. One almost gets the impression of a migration explosion.

 

 

 

 

Diagram 1: The total amount of asylum seekers in the EU/EFTA 2008-2017, and the sum of those from the most important countries

 

In order to analyze the figures given in Table 1 further, I start by summarizing the figures for each of the countries there, and thus get the total number of asylum seekers during the period 2008-2017 from each country. These figures are presented in Table 2 and the countries are also ordered according them. And, furthermore, in that same table the populations of the countries as well as the asylum seekers as percentages of the populations are presented.

 

Table 2: Asylum-seekers from the different countries summarized

 

 

Total number of asylum seekers in the period 2008-2017

Population,

millions

Asylum seekers as a percentage of the population

Syria

1 064 825

18.3

5.8

Afghanistan

625 630

31.6

2.0

Iraq

447 705

39.3

1.1

Pakistan

240 770

212.3

0.1

Russia

236 605

146.9

0.2

Eritrea

233 055

5.2

4.5

Nigeria

217 740

193.4

0.1

Kosovo

203 990

1.8

11.3

Somalia

186 100

15.2

1.2

Serbia

183 390

7.0

2.6

Albania

172 825

2.9

6.0

Iran

167 060

81.6

0.2

Bangladesh

111 895

164.9

0.1

Georgia

91 325

3.7

2.5

Turkey

81 745

80.8

0.1

Macedonia

81 080

2.1

3.9

Guinea

80 675

11.9

0.7

Sri Lanka

71 420

21.4

0.3

 

 

We immediately see that by far the largest amount of asylum seekers come from Syria. These asylum seekers also constitute a considerable part of the Syrian population, namely 5.8 percent, although Syria does not take the leading position in that respect. Thus the asylum seekers from Kosovo constitute as much as 11.3 percent of that country’s population and those from Albania 6.0 percent.

 

For getting a still clearer picture of the migration patterns I have chosen to use four separate diagrams, one for the migration streams from the Middle and Far East (Diagram 2), one for those from Africa (Diagram 3), one for those from Balkan (Diagram 4) and one for those from Turkey, Russia and Georgia (Diagram 5).

 

 

 

Diagram 2: Asylum seekers in the EU/EFTA from the Middle and the Far East

 

 

 

 

 

Diagram 3: Asylum seekers in the EU/EFTA from Africa

 

 

 

 

Diagram 4: Asylum seekers in the EU/EFTA from Balkan 

 

 

 

 

Diagram 5: Asylum seekers in the EU/EFTA from Turkey, Russia and Georgia

 

 

Now, a way of finding out the reasons behind the migration is to look first at the different groups represented by the Diagrams 2, 3, 4 and 5, and then also, when expedient or necessary, to look into the conditions for the individual countries. In the following sections I will proceed so.

 

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