DOI: 10.1111/jcms.13586 ISSN: 0021-9886

A Capacity‐Based Approach for Assessing Changes in Responsibility Sharing in the EU: Comparing the Syrian and Ukrainian Refugee Crises

Maria Hierro, Adolfo Maza
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Business and International Management


This study explores whether the European Union's (EU's) response to the large‐scale refugee displacement from Ukraine in 2022 has led to a more equitable sharing of responsibilities amongst member states with regard to the Syrian refugee crisis. To do so, responsibility sharing is assessed by comparing actual and capacity‐based refugee shares for each country, drawing the definition of the latter from an improved version of the European Commission's distribution key. Our analysis reveals that whilst disparities in actual refugee shares between countries are somewhat smaller in the current emergency humanitarian situation compared with the Syrian crisis, such disparities almost double when countries' reception capacities are incorporated as a benchmark. Thus, the study reveals a kind of paradox: greater disparities in responsibility sharing in a context of high solidarity amongst countries for the reception of refugees.

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