E.g., 06/01/2020
E.g., 06/01/2020

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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Migrants returning to Ethiopia
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Theresa May speaks to reporters
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Policy Briefs
November 2018
By Aliyyah Ahad
Commentaries
October 2018
By Susan Fratzke and Hanne Beirens
A port in Mahdia, Tunisia.

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Hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers reached Europe via the Western Balkans route during the peak of the migration crisis. While Balkan countries initially facilitated movements northward, pressure from the European Union led to cascading border controls, which left thousands stranded in the region. This article examines the role of Balkan countries during the thick of the crisis and subsequent regional impacts.

As Europe begins to move beyond the overwhelming flows of asylum seekers and other migrants it experienced starting in 2015, policymakers are paying significant focus to integration coupled with stepped-up enforcement. 2016 saw a wave of policy innovations facilitating integration as well as returns and deterrence, but it remains to be seen whether Europe will be able to continue and scale up this work in 2017 and beyond, as this Top 10 article explores.

The United Kingdom's stunning decision to leave the European Union in June 2016, intertwined with rising concerns over migration, marked a significant setback to key objectives of the European project, including the right to free movement. Amid growing euroskepticism across the continent, it remains to be seen if the European Union will be able to reassert leadership to address migration and other issues in 2017 and beyond.

The success of populist movements on both sides of the Atlantic in 2016, including Donald Trump's victory in the United States and the United Kingdom's vote to quit the European Union, have sparked an identity crisis in the West. Campaigns effectively tapped into the anxieties of voters who feel left behind by societal change and out-of-touch elites, while normalizing anti-immigrant rhetoric in mainstream discourse, as this Top 10 article explores.

Movements of migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean have shown to be highly fluid, adapting quickly to changing conditions at origin, transit, and destination. This article examines the shifts in flows across the three major Mediterranean routes since 2008 and the complex web of often interconnected factors underpinning these movements.

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Video, Audio
February 17, 2016

MPI's Demetrios Papademetriou discusses the current policy responses to the refugee and migration crisis at EU and national levels, and possible options for dealing more effectively with the crisis and longer-term integration challenges.

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February 8, 2016

Analysts discuss how private sponsorship programs for refugees, used by Canada and a handful of other countries, could alleviate some of the pressure from the European refugee crisis by allowing individuals, groups, businesses, and other entities to sponsor individual refugees for resettlement.

Video, Audio
October 22, 2015

This webinar examines the challenges facing educators and policymakers in Europe and the United States as they attempt to meet the needs of immigrant and refugee students who arrive during their middle and high school years.

Video, Audio
October 20, 2015

An MPI Europe video chat with the outgoing head of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on the current EU refugee crisis, what strategies Europe ought to be pursuing in response, and the growing role of EASO as well as its track record over its first five years.

Audio
September 18, 2015

A webinar/call with senior officials from two EU Member States, Austria and Slovenia, to discuss their differing perspectives on the current refugee crisis, and 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.

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Recent Activity

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Hardline migration and asylum policies in the United States and Australia in 2018 hit turbulence when their effects on the most vulnerable—young children—provoked widespread public revulsion and prompted a retreat, at least temporarily. Still, public outcry over the treatment of child migrants and asylum seekers often runs up against the intractability of the problems facing governments and the lack of good solutions.

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Questions of how, when, and under what conditions migrants and asylum seekers can be returned to their origin countries have featured prominently in international discussions of migration in 2018. Crucially, so too has an increased interest on the part of both destination and origin countries in making reintegration assistance more effective to help ensure that return is sustainable.

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Faced with absorbing vast numbers of asylum seekers who headed to Europe during the 2015-16 migration crisis and the ongoing arrival of much smaller, but steady flows of Central Americans at the U.S.-Mexico border, EU Member States and the United States in 2018 took or explored significant steps to narrow asylum and harden policies.

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With the United Kingdom’s scheduled March 2019 departure from the European Union around the corner and approval of an exit deal by the UK Parliament in deep disarray, the future for approximately 5 million EU nationals living in the United Kingdom and Britons resident in the EU-27 remained unresolved. This article examines the citizens' rights issues that have arisen and what Brexit, hard or otherwise, might bring.

Policy Briefs
November 2018

This brief looks at the potential impact of Brexit on British families in the EU-27, a group that is much less studied than their counterparts in the United Kingdom. As it explores, legal systems are not always designed to cater to the needs of families rather than individuals, and the patchwork of differing rights and benefits for EU citizens and non-EU nationals could mean some family members—third-country nationals, adult dependants, and same-sex or unregistered partners—will fall through the gaps.

Policy Briefs
November 2018

As Brexit approaches, British pensioners in the EU-27 face a series of issues beyond those of the wider British population of the EU-27. This issue brief explores the diversity of the pensioner population and unique challenges ranging from whether UK state pensions will rise with the cost of living, to tax, health care, and access to social assistance issues, before considering key policy questions and recommendations for both EU and UK policymakers.

Commentaries
October 2018

Amid disagreement over the appropriate way to manage European borders and grant access to asylum, there is one policy priority that has support across (most) Member States and the institutions of the European Union: the need to provide safe, legal channels for migration, particularly for refugees. Private sponsorship of refugees may have a valuable role to play in meeting this need, as this MPI Europe commentary explains.

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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.

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