More refugees in the EU are Syrian than any other nationality

7 October 2016
What was claimed

Most of the refugees in the EU have come from Syria.

Our verdict

That’s correct in terms of people granted refugee status, although Syrians aren’t the majority of migrants crossing the Mediterranean or applying for asylum.

“If you look at where most of the refugees within the European Union have come from, it is Syria”

Leanne Wood AM, 6 October 2016

There are at least three possible ways of looking at refugees within the EU. Syrian citizens make up a majority on the most obvious measure, although not on others.

Syrians make up 28% of the migrants crossing the Mediterranean by sea in 2016, according to the UN refugee agency. So not the majority, but it was more than any other nationality.

The year before that an estimated 48% of those making the crossing said they were from Syria.

Of those who made an asylum application in the EU for the first time, around 30% were Syrian between January 2015 and June 2016. Again, that’s far more than any other nationality.

Finally, take people actually granted refugee status in the EU. Here a clear majority of people are Syrians: 58% since the beginning of January 2015. And that’s not counting around 11,000 Syrian refugees who have been brought over directly from the Middle East by EU governments.

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