Will more than 1 million refugees and migrants arrive in Europe by sea in 2016? (update)

As a reporter at the Chicago Tribune puts it, “Europe can’t build a wall to keep out Syrian refugees. But Tuesday European Union leaders did the next best thing from their perspective, announcing an agreement with Turkey to repel and return all those trying to come illegally into Greece by boat from Turkey”[1]. This (repellent, I think) change in policy could significantly affect the outcome of this question. It remains to be seen how much of this human traffic can be interdicted or disincentivized. But it does appear that a lot of refugees and migrants are entering the EU by sailing from the west coast of Turkey to Greek islands like Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Leros, and Kos[2]. Unless I’m misreading the data, that’s about 129,000 folks already in 2016. Reducing the percentage of refugees and migrants who enter the EU this way would have a disproportionately large affect on the the aggregate number of refugees and migrants entering the EU in 2016, making the likelihood that the number of refugees and migrants will be over 1,000,00 this year lower. I’m downgrading the probability to 68% for now, and will make further modifications as it becomes clearer how this policy will be implemented.

[1] http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-wp-blm-migrants-europe-comment-20b1ecd6-e561-11e5-a9ce-681055c7a05f-20160308-story.html

[2] http://data.unhcr.org/mediterranean/country.php?id=83

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