The research report delves into a comprehensive analysis of the dynamic relationship between media framing, policy debates, and public perceptions in the context of the European Union's response to the refugee crisis. This report represents a significant contribution to the understanding of how media narratives and policy discussions have evolved over nearly a decade, shedding light on critical shifts in the way European nations have responded to the multifaceted challenges posed by the refugee crisis. The impact of this unprecedented arrival of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants is monumental, redefining Europe in ways that will resonate for generations, influencing central issues including security, national identity, human rights, and the foundations of liberal democracies.


The study consists of a legislative overview, a textual analysis of media coverage and a visual analysis of the representation of refugees. To investigate the European Union's policy initiatives regarding refugees and migration, a qualitative content analysis was conducted, examining 28 Policy Initiatives from the European Parliament and 30 from the European Commission. Qualitative Text Analysis as the methodology of choice enables the categorisation of policies and the uncovering of their underlying significance. The second part of this report concerns content analysis, where one quality and one tabloid newspaper were selected from each of the countries within the German-speaking region. The foundation for the comparative analysis in this study is derived from extensive literature research on media coverage of refugees from the MENA region in 2015. The content analysis comprised three distinct 2-week examination periods. The first, from February 24, 2022, to March 10, 2022, followed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while the second and third periods, spanning from September 8, 2022, to September 22, 2022, and from April 1, 2023, to April 15, 2023, were selected randomly to avoid bias. The visual qualitative analysis is centred on how cover images portray refugees, focusing on the most prominent newspapers in the region, including Bild [DE,t], SZ [DE,q], Krone [AT,t], Standard [AT,q], Tagesanzeiger [CH,q], and 20 Minuten [CH,t].