European Migration and Diversity

EPC in the refugee crisis debate


European response(s) to the refugee, migrant and humanitarian crisis - Will the EU and member states succeed?

1 October 2015


The unprecedented humanitarian and refugee crisis of the past few months has removed any doubt about the need for decisive EU reform in the areas of asylum and migration, including a more equitable share of responsibilities among member states. While many countries continue to struggle to cope with the numbers of people arriving, an effective coordinated European response is vital in order to deal with the situation at hand and to demonstrate that EU member states have a common future through working together.

The past few weeks have seen significant political and legislative developments. Following intense negotiations, a majority of member states agreed upon the relocation of some 160,000 asylum seekers (40,000 agreed on 14 September and 120,000 on 22 September) from Greece and Italy. At the extraordinary summit on 23 September, EU leaders also affirmed the need to urgently help refugees in Syria’s neighbouring countries. Nonetheless, the EU remains fundamentally divided over the next steps to be taken.

This Policy Dialogue aims to reflect on the progress made and to address several other questions: How will the relocation mechanism work? Will it be implemented by the reluctant member states? How is the EU going to tackle Schengen’s current fragmentation? And will the supplementary funds deployed by the EU be enough to stabilise the dramatic situation in Syria and its neighbouring countries?

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