The movement of over 4.5 million Syrian refugees and other migrants fleeing the Syrian civil war has put significant strain on the European Union’s (EU) member states both politically, socially, and economically. This tests a state’s ability and willingness to continue to accept refugees. This paper aims to answer the question of what determines the willingness and the ability of certain EU member states, specifically Germany and Hungary, to accept refugees. While there are many factors that vary from state to state, there are factors that dominate and heavily influence a state’s willingness and ability to accept refugees. Germany’s historical presence and moral obligation towards immigrants, strong economy, and actions of Chancellor Angela Merkel have led to its welcoming sentiments towards the Syrian refugees. Hungary’s conservative Fidesz government, homogenous state, weaker economy, and actions of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán have led to its restrictive attitude towards the refugees. Analyzing a state’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis through its political, economic, and societal influences allows for a better understanding of how the EU can assist each state during this crisis.

First Advisor

Nick Kontogeorgopoulos

Degree Type






Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in International Political Economy


International Political Economy

Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2017


University of Puget Sound