Migration crisis in 2016: Some steps have been taken, but…

EU has border guards, is moving with ETIAS system, migration compacts and Turkey deal (whatever we think about this) is still at place. How would you assess the last six months of management and solving of migration crisis from the EU maybe also taking into account that Slovakia just had rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU (and for better or worse my country was also somehow in the spotlight of migration crisis)? Read few comments.

Nando SigonaSenior Lecturer, Deputy Director, Institute for Research into Superdiversity, University of Birmingham

After the panic of 2015 when the EU authorities struggled to get a grip of the rapidly unfolding refugee and migration crisis, 2016 has seen the EU reasserting control over its external borders, this however happened at the expenses of those needed international protection, especially Syrians as a result of the EU- Turkey deal, and boat migrants who have died in unprecedented numbers due to tougher measures taken to contain the Central Mediterranean route.

Christian Kaunert, Academic Director, Professor of European Politics, Institute for European Studies

The feeling of crisis seems to have lessened, but this is likely to be a blip. I would think that 2017 will be very difficult again, and I don’t think the EU has the structural policies in place to deal with this. The EU-Turkey deal might not survive 2017, but is has become the blueprint for other deals, for instance Egypt. The EU border guards are far from finished. So, some steps have been taken, but many more need to be taken before the EU could withstand a crisis like 2015!

Daniela IrreraAssociate Professor of Political Science and Global Civil Society, Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Catania

After a few years of debates, official documents and informative policy papers, scholars should be familiar with the kind of discourse used at EU level. However, the continuous and scrupulous defence of the Facility for Refugees with Turkey in association with other recent innovations – that is to say the migration compact – can still surprise and disappoint.

The main assumption at the basis of such sophisticated complex of measures is that border control should and can be implemented and that movements of people (whatever they are looking for, better conditions of life or rescue) constitute a problem to be solved by convincing (any) neighbours to do their part.

In principle, after six months, in the Facility website, one can read that Turkey hosts more than 2.7 millions of Syrian refugees and that the EU is committed to support. Additionally, 677 millions of Euro have been invested in projects, aiming at implementing the Facility and assisting humanitarian needs. In practice, after six months, the Mediterranean route has replaced the Balkans and search and rescue operations operated by States and NGOs increased in size and number of rescue actions.

The ETIAS system has the complicated task to fight the obsession of security and terrorism by preserving the spirit of Schengen

Thus, nothing has been solved, nor it can be done this way. Migration has a transboundary dimension which produces interdependent implications on a wide variety of policy fields and requires the concurrent interventions of different actors. Movements of people are a consequence of global processes and cannot be stopped nor reduced. People all around the world have the right to seek different economic conditions, to find a job or to escape wars and natural disasters. Instead of focusing on border guards, on attempts to revitalise old-fashioned concepts and rules, EU member states need to be aware of this simple assumption and work on policies and rules which make borders and asylum procedures more flexible, regulate job markets, enlarge welfare systems, promote movement and openness as an added value for European.

Migration compacts and deals with Turkey or Northern African countries are rather destined to fail, as they are doing.

Each Presidency has certainly different features, but Slovakia performance has been marked by this common tendency which seems not to leave the EU and its member states.


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