Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Kristina Mani
Barbara J. Craig

Committee Member(s)

Marc J. Blecher


Refugees, France, Germany, European Union, Two-level game


Accompanying the increase in refugee numbers is the rise in anti-refugee sentiments. This phenomenon is most prominent in Europe, a region that has come under a lot of attention due to its proximity to refugee-producing nations, and the popularity of European countries amongst asylum seekers. Based on Amnesty International's Refugee Welcome Index, the German population is the most welcoming towards refugees amongst the European countries surveyed, and France is the least welcoming nation with the exception of Turkey and Russia. An analysis of refugee and asylum application trends from 1990-2015 revealed that not only was there a difference in sentiments towards refugees, but the trends experienced by both countries were also different, explained by their own unique historical experiences as a nation. These experiences also provide legitimizing narratives for both countries, as well as the European Union (EU), to play a leading role in today's refugee crisis.

Based on Robert Putnam's theory of the two-level game, I ran regressions for France and Germany where the refugee population scaled to total population in the country was the dependent variable and the independent variables were some measures of domestic and international pressures, i.e. popularity of anti-immigrant parties at the federal and regional levels, government spending on social welfare, voter turnout in the countries for EU Parliament elections, and proportion of asylum applications received by the two countries. In the individual time series regressions, a mix of domestic and international factors were significant for both Germany and France. However, in my panel data regression that combined data for both countries, only my measures of domestic factors retained their significance. Therefore, variations in the policies pursued by the governments of France and Germany, and their public opinions can be explained by the different domestic pressures faced by the governments.

The paper concludes by studying the increasing support for nationalist anti-immigrant parties in both countries, and conjectures that these troubling trends suggest that France and Germany will not be as welcoming towards refugees in the future. Given the important role that they play as the anchors of the EU, the survival of the supranational institution is then questioned.