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A massive influx of migrants to Europe has drowned thousands of people in recent years and caused deep tensions between countries over how to handle the huge number of arrivals. Here is a review of the most important developments since 2011.

2011 to 2014: Sinsist on war in Syria

The increase in the number of migrants starts in 2011 and steadily increases until 2014, when 280,000 arrive, four times more than the year before. Most country in Italy and Greece.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that more than 3,500 people fleeing war and misery died in 2014 alone, especially in the central Mediterranean region.

The conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, leads to a massive exodus of people, mostly to camps in neighboring countries.

The UNHCR says in October 2014 that just over 144,630 Syrians had applied for asylum in the EU since 2011, with Germany and Sweden taking on the burden.

It is said in June 2014 that 2.5 million people have fled Syria. By April 2018, this figure is more than 5.6 million, according to the UNHCR website.

2015: More than a million migrants

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 1,047,000 migrants arrived by sea in Europe in 2015, of whom 854,000 went to Greece and 154,000 to Italy.

The increase is due to the furious Syrian conflict and a deterioration in living conditions in refugee camps.

On April 19, 2015, the worst Mediterranean disaster occurs in decades when up to 800 people, mostly from West Africa, die after their overfull fishing boat capsizes in Libyan waters.

In 2015, almost 3,800 deaths at sea were registered by the UNHCR.

The war in Syria is credited with the launch of a wave of migrant movement to Europe

The war in Syria is credited with the launch of a wave of migrant movement to Europe

In the late summer of 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to open the borders of Germany to migrants. Around 890,000 arrive all year round and she receives strong criticism from many of her EU partners.

Central and Eastern European countries such as Hungary and Poland simply refuse or refuse to accept refugees within the framework of an EU quota system.

At the breaking point, Germany restores border controls and suspends free movement in the EU. Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, all transit countries, follow the example.

Hungary and Slovenia, the main gateways to the passport-free Schengen area, have set up fences.

Asylum demand peaks with 1.26 million requirements in the EU in 2015.

2016: Agreement with Turkey

The EU and Turkey sign a controversial deal in 2016 to stop the flow of migrants to the islands in the Aegean Sea.

Combined with the closure of the so-called Balkan route, the current falls sharply as Turkey increases its coastal patrols.

Arrivals in Europe fall to 390,000 in 2016, according to the IOM.

2017: Italy in the front line

While the route via Greece and Turkey is drying up, Libya is becoming the most important migration route and Italy is the most important access point to Europe.

The trend has been radically reversed from July 2017 as a result of agreements concluded by Rome with the Libyan authorities and militias.

After these agreements, which support the Libyan coast guard, the number of arrivals in Italy fell by more than 75 percent.

2018: Political crisis in the EU

In Italy, where about 700,000 migrants have arrived since 2013, an anti-migrant coalition with the extreme right is sworn to the government in June.

It refuses to allow the Waterman rescue ship to bring 630 migrants to its shores; the migrants are taken in by Spain on 17 June, after a turbulent week at sea.

The case leads to political accusations and increased tensions within the EU, in particular between Rome and Paris.

In Germany, hardliners in Merkel's conservative bloc give her an ultimatum on 18 June to tighten the asylum rules or to risk Germany to end up in a political crisis that would also thwart Europe.

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