E.g., 09/29/2020
E.g., 09/29/2020

Europe

Europe

Europe faces an interesting set of immigration challenges and opportunities: Demographic pressures as many European societies age, a lively and at times tense policy and political debate over questions of identity and immigrant integration, and a unique policy environment that has knit many European countries together with regards to free movement, the management of outer borders, asylum, and other immigration-related topics. MPI has long conducted research and analysis of European policy on topics ranging from labor mobility and border security to immigrant integration, citizenship, and foreign qualifications recognition, which can be found below.

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A woman looks out over tents being used by migrants and asylum seekers on the Greek island of Lesvos

When he was elected prime minister in 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised what he called “strict but fair” reforms to secure Greece's borders and speed up transfers of asylum seekers crowding Aegean islands. Yet domestic and geopolitical tensions continued to roil the islands, later joined by a global pandemic, culminating in a fire that destroyed most of Lesvos's Moria refugee camp. This article examines Greece's efforts to strike a delicate balance on migration in a complex era.

The National Museum of History in Tirana, Albania features a large mosaic with nationalist imagery.

Southeastern Europe is experiencing one of the sharpest depopulations in the world, with countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia on pace to see their populations shrink by at least 15 percent in coming decades. To counter this trend, governments in the region, NGOs, and the private sector are increasingly, if unevenly, tapping into large diaspora communities to spur economic growth and strengthen cultural ties.

Migrants aboard a rubber vessel are rescued in the Mediterranean

Libya was once a prized destination for workers from around the world. But after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, the country became the transit point for hundreds of thousands of Europe-bound asylum seekers and other migrants. Following Libya's 2017 deal with Italy to detain and return migrants caught at sea—which was renewed in February 2020—migrants became trapped in an unstable country, facing harrowing realities, as this article explores.

Grape pickers in France

Border closures and lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic have put a chill on intra-EU labor mobility, most immediately with the difficulty for European farmers to gain access to much-needed seasonal workers and for health-care institutions to get care workers. This article explores how these workers, who often face difficult situations, may be more vulnerable now. It also takes on implications for intra-EU labor mobility post-pandemic.

2018 African Union Ministerial Conference on Migration

While migration once was a lower-priority topic for African governments, the last decade has seen a deepening in governance. Policymakers have integrated migration into their national development strategies and mainstreamed it across policy domains such as health and education. The actions are promising on paper, yet questions remain about the extent to which they will translate to more effective migration management.

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Commentaries
August 2020
By Hanne Beirens, Susan Fratzke, and Lena Kainz
Commentaries
May 2020
By Meghan Benton
Commentaries
March 2020
By Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Meghan Benton, and Susan Fratzke
Commentaries
March 2020
By Kate Hooper and Camille Le Coz
Commentaries
February 2020
By Susan Fratzke and Hanne Beirens
Commentaries
January 2020
By Meghan Benton

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Video, Audio
June 25, 2020

Part of MPI Europe's webinar series exploring what the migrant-return and reintegration process might look like in the post-COVID period, this first webinar in the series showcases speakers from Belgium's Fedasil, the French Office of Immigration and Integration, and the International Organization for Migration discussing the counselling of (potential) returnees to increase the uptake of volunt

Audio
April 8, 2020

MPI and MPI Europe experts discuss the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on asylum systems in Europe and North America, as well as in developing regions, where 85 percent of refugees live. During this freeform conversation, our analysts also assess the implications for the principle of asylum and the future for a post-World War II humanitarian protection system that is under threat.

Expert Q&A, Audio
March 31, 2020

Governments are facing urgent pandemic-related questions. One of the more pressing ones: Who is going to harvest crops in countries that rely heavily on seasonal foreign workers? In this podcast, MPI experts examine ways in which countries could address labor shortages in agriculture, including recruiting native-born workers and letting already present seasonal workers stay longer.

Video, Audio
March 24, 2020

This webinar, organized by MPI and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, discussed migration policy responses around the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and examined where migration management and enforcement tools may be useful and where they may be ill-suited to advancing public health goals. 

Video, Audio
February 25, 2020

As the European Union prepares to review the implementation of its Seasonal Workers Directive, as well as countries such as the United Kingdom continue to explore new approaches to selecting seasonal workers, this webinar features findings from a policy brief on the topic. 

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Recent Activity

Articles

When he was elected prime minister in 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised what he called “strict but fair” reforms to secure Greece's borders and speed up transfers of asylum seekers crowding Aegean islands. Yet domestic and geopolitical tensions continued to roil the islands, later joined by a global pandemic, culminating in a fire that destroyed most of Lesvos's Moria refugee camp. This article examines Greece's efforts to strike a delicate balance on migration in a complex era.

Reports
September 2020

Since COVID-19 hit cities across Europe, many have struggled with how to sustain support for migrant inclusion in a time of social-distancing orders and likely budget cuts. This report explores how municipalities and their partners used social innovation to meet the challenges of the 2015–16 spike in arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants, and how those experiences can help localities weather the pandemic and put communities at the center of recovery efforts.

Policy Briefs
September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic hit just weeks after the United Kingdom formally left the European Union, delaying plans to implement the withdrawal agreement’s provisions on citizens’ rights. This policy brief assesses the progress countries have made in setting up systems to adjust the status of mobile EU and UK nationals, as well as steps countries can take to make up for lost time.

Commentaries
September 2020

The fires that devastated the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos have further raised the stakes for the soon-to-be unveiled EU Pact on Migration and Asylum. If Moria persists as a concept—with asylum seekers prevented from onward movement elsewhere in Europe—this becomes an integral pillar of future EU asylum practice, whatever is written on paper, as this commentary explores.

Articles

Southeastern Europe is experiencing one of the sharpest depopulations in the world, with countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia on pace to see their populations shrink by at least 15 percent in coming decades. To counter this trend, governments in the region, NGOs, and the private sector are increasingly, if unevenly, tapping into large diaspora communities to spur economic growth and strengthen cultural ties.

Articles

Libya was once a prized destination for workers from around the world. But after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, the country became the transit point for hundreds of thousands of Europe-bound asylum seekers and other migrants. Following Libya's 2017 deal with Italy to detain and return migrants caught at sea—which was renewed in February 2020—migrants became trapped in an unstable country, facing harrowing realities, as this article explores.

Commentaries
August 2020

Most EU Member States closed their borders to travel from neighboring countries in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. While internal borders in the Schengen zone largely reopened in time for summer holidays, there is a lingering sense they could snap shut anew. Though the reflexive introduction of border controls speaks to an inherent lack of trust between states, the 2015-16 migration crisis offers lessons on how to begin to rebuild trust, as this commentary explores.

Video, Audio, Webinars
June 25, 2020

Part of MPI Europe's webinar series exploring what the migrant-return and reintegration process might look like in the post-COVID period, this first webinar in the series showcases speakers from Belgium's Fedasil, the French Office of Immigration and Integration, and the International Organization for Migration discussing the counselling of (potential) returnees to increase the uptake of voluntary return – a return option that is generally seen as more humanitarian, practical, less expensive

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