Europe's defining challenge in 2015 was the exponential growth in the number of asylum seekers and migrants arriving on its shores. The European Union and its Member States were slow to respond, and reactive when they did. As trust among Member States and between national and EU-level authorities began to erode, the European Union has found its ability to implement a comprehensive response severely handicapped.
Global displacement reached a new high with nearly 60 million people worldwide displaced internally or externally in the greatest number since record-keeping began. The trend continued in 2015 as conflicts in places such as Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen drove millions of people to leave their homes and seek refuge in other communities or across borders.
Faced with a flexible, diverse, and seemingly ubiquitous smuggling industry, governments have struggled to respond. Smuggling and trafficking networks, while hardly new phenomena, were put under a harsh spotlight in 2015 for their role as intermediaries in shaping the scale and flow of migrants and asylum seekers around the world.
Citizenship came under fire in new ways around the world in 2015, with attempts to both restrict who is eligible to become a citizen and who can be deprived of citizenship. Driven by fears of international terrorism, a number of countries proposed or passed legislation making it easier to narrow citizenship and broadening the range of offenses for which individuals can be stripped of their citizenship.
As seemingly endless waves of asylum seekers and migrants arrived in Europe in 2015, politicians from across the political spectrum invoked forceful anti-immigrant rhetoric that resonated in some quarters. Mainstream politicians began co-opting the tougher, more enforcement-laden language of far-right groups as all parties sought to reassure voters in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris.
As immigrant-skeptic movements gained salience, and even political representation, in several European countries in recent years, Germany remained a relative outlier until mid-2015. This report explains how a pro-immigrant consensus evolved and persisted in Germany during the period from 2005—as the country emerged from recession and embarked on a reform of its immigration laws—through to the events of mid-2015.
A discussion on how the politics and migration policies of the British government influenced the decision to hold the "Brexit" referendum, how public attitudes towards immigration might influence the decision whether the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, and how the outcome might impact migration policy in the United Kingdom and European Union more broadly.
In an era of diminished public trust in governments' ability to manage migration, policymakers face a set of interlinked challenges to winning back that trust. This report reflects on why it is so crucial for immigration policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic to earn back public confidence, and on the role of sound migration governance in doing so.
This report analyzes British polling data in a bid to paint a more accurate picture of public opinion on immigration in the United Kingdom, which is often described as having particularly hostile attitudes compared to other countries. The report examines several drivers of public opinion, including media coverage, and considers how recent migration policies can be linked to public opinion—including the call for a Brexit referendum.
As Muslim minorities continue to grow in size and influence in Europe and North America, this Transatlantic Council on Migration policy brief focuses on the different policy frameworks and practices found on either side of the Atlantic regarding integration of Muslim immigrants, as a window into how receiving governments and societies manage religious difference and fundamental change in an era of large-scale immigration.
Experts discuss how European governments have responded to pressure brought by the recent influx of migrants and refugees, and how the EU asylum reception system can be strengthened to better respond to fluctuation in needs for capacity, improve efficiency and quality, and meet national and EU standards.
The implications of the just-implemented EU-Turkey refugee deal for children seeking asylum in Greece have thus far been largely overlooked by critics of the controversial accord. This MPI Europe commentary explains how the shortcomings of the deal itself and the infrastructure in place to process asylum seekers could result in children falling through the cracks of the Greek and Turkish protection systems.
MPI Europe expert analysis and discussion with UNHCR and Italian NGO representatives on what is being done and what can be done to connect Syrians and other refugees with opportunities to settle, work, and live outside the immediate region of the Syrian conflict.