Safe for Some: Europe’s selective welcome to children on the move

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Save the Children Europe

The response of the European Union (EU) and European states to the arrival of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has in many ways been exemplary. European governments and institutions have proved themselves able to adopt policies that effectively support children who have fled a devastating conflict. This puts in perspective their unwillingness to take a similar approach in the past.

Almost twice as many refugees from Ukraine have claimed protection as those who applied for asylum in 2015 and 2016, when there was a significant increase in refugee arrivals. But the response to that crisis was dysfunctional at best and cruel at worst. It ushered in and hardened measures that continue to restrict the ability of children to seek asylum in the EU, to contain those who have arrived, and deter others from coming.

Drawing on Save the Children’s research, interviews with children, and experience across 13 countries in Europe, this report explores the consequences for children of the different policies the European Union (EU) and European states are implementing.

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