Chronique européenne, Futuribles Journal n° 446

Géopolitique - Population

Europe Caught in the Migration Trap?

Six years after the migration crisis episode of 2015, which ended in a controversial deal between the European Union and Turkey for containing the inflow of refugees from Syria, a new crisis has been sparked this autumn (2021). This one has broken out on the borders of Poland and is driven by the Belarusian authorities by way of a riposte to EU sanctions. With populist parties gaining ground in many countries and making their case by combatting immigration and the Islamism they associate with it, questions of migration are looming larger in public debate on both the Right and Left. It is not unusual, in these debates, for the fierce opponents of immigration to hold the European Union responsible.

However, as this opinion piece shows, matters are not so simple. The EU has, admittedly, promoted the free movement of persons within the Union and, hence, intra-European migration (as a response to real labour-force needs among its most developed members). But both the management of migrant flows from external countries and the integration of migrants fall within the remit of national governments. Each has a role to play then: it is up to the EU to establish an effective agreed migration policy that doesn’t heap all the burden on the member states at its borders, and for the individual states to review their national integration policies so as not to play into the hands of extremists of whatever kind.

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