Simply No Consensus: Can the EU Respond to Continued Refugee Flows?
Madeline Garlick, Open Society Foundations Fellow at MPI-Europe
Nina Gregori, Director General, Migration and Integration, Ministry of the Interior, Slovenia
Peter Webinger, Deputy Director General, Ministry of the Interior, Austria
Elizabeth Collett, Director of MPI Europe and Senior Advisor to MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration
With refugee arrivals continuing on a scale unprecedented in recent history, the European Union is struggling to deliver a humane, sustainable response that will have the support of all of its Member States. Some European countries, which have already welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees, have expressed their commitment to continue receiving those in need; while others have underlined their limited capacity and need for more EU support before they can admit more people forced to flee conflict and persecution. After the European Commission issued several ambitious proposals on 9 September for far-reaching, mandatory responsibility-sharing schemes for refugees, the Interior Ministers of the EU’s 28 Member States failed to reach a specific agreement on a plan to share the 120,000 refugees arriving in Italy, Greece and Hungary. Some see this as a crucial moment for the EU, which needs to reconcile the divergent views of States if it is to take forward its vision of common, cooperative responses to migration and refugee challenges in line with international law; and preserve the commitment of all States to free movement within the EU’s borders.
MPI Europe, as part of a joint project on asylum in the EU with the Open Society Foundations, brought together senior officials from some of the Member States to discuss their differing perspectives on the current crisis. They consider what is needed to ensure a unified, practically feasible response to the biggest crisis that has faced the Common European Asylum System since its inception.