Refugee crisis timeline: How the crisis has grown

500,000 migrants and refugees have entered the EU so far in 2015

Luke Fry
Tuesday 15 September 2015 20:31
A refugee cries as he holds a child on the Serbian side of the border with Hungary in Asotthalom
A refugee cries as he holds a child on the Serbian side of the border with Hungary in Asotthalom

13 July: Hungary starts to erect a razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia, to halt an unprecedented flow of refugees seeking entry to the EU.

20 July: EU leaders agree to accept 32,256 refugees from Italy and Greece; this is just short of the 40,000 proposed in May by EC president Jean-Claude Juncker.

30 July: David Cameron warns of ‘a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean… wanting to come to Britain’.

27 August: in Austria, the bodies of 71 Syrians are found in an abandoned lorry.

2 September: pictures of three-year-old Aylan al-Kurdi, drowned in his Syrian family’s attempt to reach Greece from Turkey, provoke a wave of public sympathy for refugees.

3 September: the slogan ‘refugees welcome’ goes viral; 250,000 people in 48 hours back an ‘Independent’ petition calling for Britain to take its fair share of refugees. Mr Cameron says Britain will fulful its ‘moral responsibilities’. Budapest reopens its main station after a two-day closure. Hundreds board trains for the Austrian border; others set off for Germany on foot. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the crisis is a ‘German problem’.

7 September: Mr Cameron says Britain will take in an extra 20,000 refugees over five years. France agrees to take 24,000. Germany earmarks €6bn to help an expected 800,000 extra refugees.

9 September: Mr Juncker urges EU member states to take in an additional 120,000 refugees (bringing the total to 160,000), to be distributed on a quota basis. The UK, which has an opt-out, is not included in these plans. The draft plans redistribute almost three-fifths of the new refugees to Germany, France and Spain.

12 September: a summit of EU interior ministers fails to agree a common response.

13 September: a record 5,809 people arrive in Hungary as its border fence nears completion. Germany introduces emergency controls on its borders with Austria, temporarily suspending its Schengen obligations; officials say 63,000 refugees have arrived since the end of August.

14 September: Austria and Slovakia say they too are reintroducing border controls. Germany warns it could face up to one million arrivals this year. Hungary declares a state of emergency and threatens those who enter the country illegally with jail. The EU’s border agency reveals that 500,000 migrants and refugees have entered the EU in 2015, 156,000 in August alone.

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