Europe’s Governments Fudge Refugee Costs

despite taking in 3 million refugees, economic migrants, and asylum seekers, European governments still don't know how much refugees cost

No One Knows How Much Europe’s Migrant Crisis Costs

Despite the fact that Europe—led by “humanitarian superpowers” Germany and Sweden—has absorbed at least 3 million refugees and economic migrants from the Middle East and Africa since 2015, no one knows how much they cost.

And I mean that sincerely.

Not a single European government has released any complete data-sets that detail exactly how much money is being spent on the migrant crisis and immigration—save Denmark, perhaps.

All they do is provide arbitrary numbers that obfuscate the true costs by hiding them in different departments, like a giant shell game.

This has, fairly obviously, led to wild speculations regarding said costs.

For example, the Express, a British newspaper, speculated that Angela Merkel’s Germany alone has already spent over 1 trillion British pounds on Germany’s migrants.

And while this may seem farfetched, it’s distinctly within the realm of possibility when compared to other estimates.

An analysis done by this very newspaper back in February, using data collected from private researchers at a Swedish university, concluded that Sweden is spending some 19% of its national budget on migrants—and it took in just one-tenth of the numbers that Germany did.

Furthermore, NEE’s study showed that the real cost—once exogenous costs such as healthcare, education, and legal costs were included—was 9.3 times Sweden’s official “migration” budget.

My point: governments lie when the numbers look bad, they mask the real data if it’s damning—it’s why Germany’s underestimating their Muslim population by 50%, or why Sweden’s obfuscating migrant crime statistics.

Therefore, it’s safe to assume that the costs are higher than would be expected, otherwise they’d happily release the data to make their point.  Would they not?

You only hide something if it’s worth hiding.

Governing is all smoke and mirrors.  Government is a funhouse.

We Can’t Craft Sound Refugee Policies Without Knowing The Real Costs Of Migration

This abject lack of knowledge is dangerously negligent from a public policy perspective—if we don’t know the costs, how can we budget?

How can we make rational choices if we don’t know our options?

And I’m not the only person offended by this lack of information.

The Migration Policy Institute published a research paper last month on Europe’s migrant crisis, and likewise found a startling lack of clarity when it comes to financial disclosure.

They wrote:

…current literature offers few answers to basic questions such as ‘what does it cost to resettle a person? or ‘what costs will be incurred when setting up a new resettlement programme?’

These are basic, common sense questions that any policy maker should know before deciding to import 3 million undocumented people into the country.

Hell, managers want more information when they hire a bag boy at a grocery store—and yet governments with hundreds of thousands of employees can’t come up with a reasonable cost estimate?

I don’t believe it for a second.  And neither should you.

The Migration Policy Institute’s report then expounded upon the type of information publicly available, and its relative paucity.  I think it’s best if I quote from the study liberally and let it speak for itself, since it was articulate and informative:

Despite the clear value of a comprehensive analysis of resettlement costs, little information is currently available.  The financial figures that are published usually concern the overall costs, or overall cost estimations, for the resettlement of an annual quota…

In the run-up to the launch of a new UK resettlement scheme for 20,000 Syrians, then prime minister David Cameron estimated that the effort would cost GBP 589 million for the period 2016-21; however, the government provided little detail as to how this estimate was created or what it included…

Similarly, the European Union offers a lump sum reimbursement to Member States to support the admission of individual refugees under national resettlement programmes, but few details are available on how this sum was calculated.  As a result, it is hard to divine whether these sums are intended as mere financial incentives or as precise reimbursements… neither the regulation establishing the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund nor its implementing regulation specify what part of the resettlement process or programme these sums are intended to cover or what calculations informed them.

Of course, the report divulges other examples, but this should suffice to show that one of two things is true, either: (i) our governments are aware of the costs, but are hiding them from the public because the numbers aren’t good, or (ii) our leaders were so reckless that they never bothered to ask basic questions about the costs of resettling refugees.

They’re either malicious or grossly negligent.

Which is it?

I don’t know and I don’t care—I won’t pretend to know why people do what they do.  All that matters is what they’ve done.

And in this case, Europe’s governments have acted negligently.

It’s time they came clean about the costs of Europe’s migrant crisis.

Until then, wild speculations will continue, and resentment will build.


There is a legitimate refugee crisis happening in Ukraine right now: why has Europe turned its back on Ukraine, and instead dedicated all its resources to resettling people from halfway around the world?

This story needs greater exposure.


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About John Whitaker 36 Articles
Journalist, small cap trader, classical conservative.