The 2015 Refugee Crisis Was Actually a Boon for Europe

As the EU Scrambles to Halt the Next Wave, Here’s What Happened to the Last One

Life vests left by refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos, October 2015 Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

On the border between Greece and Turkey, violent scenes of riot police struggling to prevent thousands of refugees from crossing into the European Union have set off alarm bells: an immigrant crush like that of 2015 and 2016 could hit Europe again, swamping public services and perhaps even catapulting far-right parties to power. “We don’t want a repeat of the year 2015,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told journalists in Berlin this month, referring to the arrival that year and the next of 1.4 million asylum seekers in the EU. In that,  Seehofer and other European leaders are in agreement: this wave of refugees will not find sanctuary in Europe.

Between the summer of 2015 and the spring 2016, hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in Greece by sea and then trekked north along the so-called Balkan route to northern and western Europe, mainly to Germany. Europe was unprepared for the influx. Many countries struggled

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