Conflict, persecution and general insecurity are the main drivers of migration by sea to Europe, shows research into the Mediterranean migration crisis.
People have complex reasons for coming to Europe, says Professor Brad Blitz, lead researcher of the 'EVI-MED, Constructing an evidence base of contemporary Mediterranean migrations' project. Based on 750 questionnaires and more than 100 interviews carried out in reception centres in Greece, Italy and Malta, researchers found war, insecurity and concern for family to be the dominant factor driving refugees to Europe. War was the biggest 'push factor', and given as the reason for leaving their homes by 49% of those questioned in Greece, and 53% of those in Malta.
"The overwhelming majority of people we spoke to were coming from desperately poor countries, but also places where they were subject to targeted violence or other concerns around family security," he says.
The study identified major differences between migrant reception systems. In Greece, for example, migrants have been detained and left in camp-like situations; in Italy a permissive approach towards refused asylum-seekers has encouraged their informal integration into the country through exploitative labour practices.
The report, Mapping Refugee Reception in the Mediterranean, makes 12 recommendations for policymakers including the need for new guidelines to standardise and improve the quality of reception for migrants across the European Union.