E.g., 06/28/2020
E.g., 06/28/2020

European Union

European Union

In the European Union, enlargement, special arrangements for the expansion of the Schengen Area, and the gradual development of a stronger EU role in immigration have added new complexity to the policy landscape, leading to both new patterns of movement and new policies for governing immigration from outside of the European Union's 27 Member States. The research offered here focuses on migration policies, trends, and common challenges that affect Europe at a supranational level—from free movement to asylum policy and the management of EU borders.

Recent Activity

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A port in Mahdia, Tunisia.

In the face of an uptick in unauthorized arrivals in Italy from Tunisia in 2017, the European Union dusted off earlier policy proposals such as funding to increase Tunisia’s border-control capabilities and the creation of disembarkation platforms. This article explores why contemporary developments, including a fragile Tunisian political system, suggest the need for a different approach.

Fishing boats

A small, isolated country, Iceland has been home to a largely homogenous population for much of its history. But in recent years, a booming economy and expanding tourism sector have drawn rising numbers of immigrants to the island nation. This article explores Iceland's balancing act of maintaining economic growth through immigration while preserving its culture and language.

Woman in refugee camp

The mental health of asylum seekers has emerged as an important issue following the 2015-16 European migration and refugee crisis. Many asylum seekers suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and similar conditions—with implications not only for their well-being but also potentially for the outcomes of their claims and the integrity of the asylum system as a whole, as this article explores.

Migrants on a boat

European leaders in 2017 pursued migration partnerships with North African countries, seeking to stem maritime arrivals across the Mediterranean. Italy struck a deal with Libya to provide support in cracking down on illegal migration and smugglers, while Germany signed cooperation agreements with Egypt and Tunisia. Meanwhile, widespread reports of migrant abuse in Libya are prompting questions about the limitations and human costs of these partnerships.

British and EU flags

As Brexit negotiations move forward, the issue of the future rights for EU nationals resident in the United Kingdom and UK nationals living on the continent has emerged as a sticking point. Though negotiators in early December 2017 agreed to a skeletal deal on citizens' rights, countless details remain to be worked out, leaving the future of some 4 million people unresolved—with implications for them, their families, employers, and others.

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Commentaries
March 2016
By Elizabeth Collett
Commentaries
September 2015
By Elizabeth Collett
Commentaries
December 2014
By Kathleen Newland
Commentaries
July 2014
By Elizabeth Collett
Commentaries
January 2014
By Elizabeth Collett

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Audio
July 14, 2016

The UK vote to exit the European Union has given new momentum to euroskeptic, anti-immigration movements elsewhere. Experts discuss the political and policy lessons that can be learned from Brexit and applied to debates in Europe and North America, including how to address public anxiety over immigration and identity while managing migration in a globalized economy.

Video, Audio
June 16, 2016

Swedish and U.S. government officials, and MPI's Kathleen Newland discuss global and national responses to rising displacement, innovations in managing migration processes, and attempts to address the dysfunctional aspects of international migration, in a discussion organized by MPI and the Embassy of Sweden to the United States.

Video, Audio
May 25, 2016

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.

Video, Audio
April 13, 2016

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 a

Video, Audio
March 31, 2016

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.

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Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
September 2019

Six months on from the original March 2019 Brexit date and staring a new deadline in the face, many EU countries still had only skeletal plans for how to adjust the status of their resident UK nationals should a no-deal Brexit come to pass. This policy brief highlights critical gaps in these plans, the groups most likely to be affected by them, and strategies Member States and the United Kingdom could adopt to soften the impact.

Articles

As Greece's Aegean islands continue to grapple with migrants arriving on their shores, decisions regarding the needs of newcomers are negotiated in Brussels and Athens, far removed from the situation on the ground. Meanwhile, local communities have had successes in hosting migrants, as this article drawing on observations from the hospitality center and refugee camp on Lesvos explores.

Commentaries
June 2019

While safe third-country agreements appear to hold the potential of deterring new asylum claims, experience suggests this may be a false promise. As the Trump administration explores the possibility of such agreements with Mexico and Guatemala, this commentary examines the evidence of safe third-country arrangements in Europe, finding them difficult to enforce and playing little role in deterring new claims.

Commentaries
May 2019

While nationalist and Euroskeptic parties emerged from the 2019 European Parliament elections controlling nearly one-quarter of seats, it would be wise to avoid reading too much into these results. Sweeping policy change is unlikely on the two key issues that have dominated these campaigns: immigration and revolutionizing the European Union from within.

Policy Briefs
March 2019

European policymakers are negotiating the blueprint for the next EU funding cycle—a plan that will determine how much money is available for migration and integration aims, what it can be used for, and who can access it. This policy brief explores some of the limitations of EU funds, as well as strategies that could help them more effectively serve migration and integration policy goals.

Video, Audio
January 24, 2019

The third Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion conference in Brussels, co-organized by MPI Europe with the U.S. and Canadian Missions to the European Union and the European Economic and Social Committee, explored how innovations in living situations for refugees can promote community-driven inclusion, overcome divisions, facilitate economic opportunities, and foster a sense of "home."

Commentaries
January 2019

Following the dramatic defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal in the UK Parliament this week, all bets are off when it comes to whether the United Kingdom will crash out of the European Union on March 29 without a Brexit deal. A no-deal scenario would have seismic ramifications for the legal residence, work rights, benefits and pensions, and health care for nearly 1 million UK nationals living on the continent.

Articles

The European Union's focus on formal readmission agreements with migrant-origin countries to manage the return of irregular migrants and failed asylum seekers has given way since 2016 to informal arrangements. This article explores the potential effect that nonbinding readmission pacts could have on migrant returns to sub-Saharan Africa, where return rates from EU Member States have been low.

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