Migration crisis in the European Union: a factual reflection

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 by Teresa Alves, member of CEDU

The migration crisis in European Union brings the necessity to reflect its own existence, implying the identification of its origin, i.e., the facts that may justify its emergence. This asks for a spatial and temporal localization and for a contextualization. The challenge in this article is to make a factual reflection to understand the essence of the crisis and consequently its implications in the human rights field as the EU and its Member States are bound to them.

The migration crisis remains and, from my point of view, is, on one hand, reflection of a common European policy in the asylum field, whose configuration always showed controversial aspects. It wasn’t ready, ab initio, to deal with a massive influx of applicants for international protection. On other hand, we are also talking about a crisis of solidarity because the Member States showed that they are not able to find a common approach, to respect the measures adopted by the institutions of the Union and to cooperate with the Member States more desired by the migrants and applicants of international protection. Article 67(2), of Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), binds the “common policy on asylum, immigration and external border control” to the “solidarity between Member States” and to be “fair towards third-country nationals” (stateless persons shall be treated as third-country nationals). Fulfilling this precept, Article 80 determines that this policy is governed by the solidarity principle and by the share of the responsibilities between Member States, including in the financial plan, and if necessary, the acts adopted by the EU in executing it policy “shall contain appropriate measures to give effect to this principle”.

The way that Member States and EU are managing the actual migratory context show their lack of preparation. However, the possibility of tens of thousands of refugees and immigrants to reach the coast of Europe was expected, “the official reports of Frontex and the United Nations agencies told it openly”[i].

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Editorial of April 2016

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by Emília Castro, Researcher at Faculty of Law, Universität Hamburg

The EU-Turkey deal and the migration crisis – or how far refugees are from an equal and dignified treatment

The ever-increasing flow of people around the globe is an unarguable consequence of the globalization process, which we have undergone, mainly as of the twentieth century. However, the world seems to have been drawing its attention to the movement of people around the globe not in the very last century, but mostly in the last two years. The nowadays called “migration crisis” has been showing the international society how difficult it is to struggle against some dire situations some people experience in their home countries.

Mainly because of its strong economy and its tradition of human rights, the European Union has been figuring as the main destination of refugees: more than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015 – and there are no signs these numbers are reducing in 2016.

In March 2016, however, the European Union seemed to have taken a step back on refugees’ Human Rights protection. The EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan was put into practice on March 20th  for the sake of managing the refugee crisis. In a nutshell, some of the main aspects of this deal (called by the EU as “principles”) consider[i]:

1) The return of all new irregular migrants and asylum seekers crossing from Turkey into the Greek islands with the costs covered by the European Union;

2) The resettlement of Syrian nationals: for every irregular Syrian returned from the Greek islands and readmitted by Turkey, another regular Syrian will be resettled to the EU Member States directly from Turkey. In order to achieve this goal, EU Member States should make a sufficient number of resettlement places available.

Some principles of this Joint Action Plan draw Turkey and the EU together. In compensation for the return and resettlement scheme – and apart from the obviously needed disbursement of funds under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, which will be sped up – the Commission and Member States are working on advancing the accession negotiations with Turkey. Moreover, by the end of April 2016, the European Commission should make a legislative proposal to lift the visa requirements for Turkish citizens who want to enter the EU territory.

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Paris attacks – test on EU values or the chance to rebuild a more united and welcoming Union?

Please find bellow some interesting news on the reactions across EU in the aftermath of the Paris attacks that took place on Friday 13, 2015 .

Paris attacks: European leaders link terror threats to immigration, via The Guardian

Europe’s response to the Paris attacks is different this time, via The Economist 

Paris Attacks Shift Europe’s Migrant Focus to Security, via The New York Times

To read other news that we shared, on highly debated topics in the EU, please click here. You can also share other links that you might find interesting for thinking&debating Europe, in the comments section.