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Syrian Refugees in Europe: Causes and Consequences of a Foretold Crisis

A workshop and public discussion

Haifa Center for German and European Studies

Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions

Convenors: Ayelet Banai and Katharina Konarek


Links to conference videos: 

Panel 1: Failed conflict prevention? Causes and Developments in the Syrian Civil War 

Panel 2: Seeking refuge in Europe Law and Transitions 

 Panel 3: Long Term Perspectives on the Crisis



According to UNCR data some 10 million Syrians have fled their homes during the past four years of a raging civil war. Nearly 4 million are refugees, having crossed an international borders, while over 6 million are internally displaced (IDPs), seeking refuge inside the country. The majority of Syrian refugees remain in neighbouring countries – Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. In Europe, Germany has received the largest number of Syrian refuges and asylum seekers, currently estimated at 150,000.

The dramatic pictures of refugees and migrants from Syria and elsewhere – crossing the Mediterranean clandestinely by boats and land-borders on foot – have certainly caught the media’s attention. The purpose of the workshop is to look beyond the pictures to the causes and consequences of these events. We focus on Syria refugees in Germany. The Syrian civil war is a pivotal event the politics and future of the region and of the relationship between Europe and Middle East. Thus the story of Syrian refugees in Germany raises a number of important questions:

 (1)(Why) have German and European conflict prevention policies failed to mitigate the conflict in Syria? What are the implications of this failure for a viable Middle East politics in the future?

(2)What are the main challenges facing Germany and the EU in view of the current wave of refugees from the Middle East? What are the implications for EU refugees’ politics, crisis management, and on the longer run, for politics of social integration? How well equipped are Germany and the EU to deal with the looming challenges?

 (3)Syrian refugees are a fraction of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants seeking to enter Europe. What are the EUs and Germany’s refugees’ policies? Are they up for the task?

To discuss these issues, the workshop will present three panels, with speakers from academia, media, politics and civil society.