Taking back control? The impact of Brexit on the immigration of third country nationals and asylum seekers

8931595340_478ef13163_o.jpgNatascha Zaun, Assistant Professor at LSE, reflects upon the situation for third country nationals, especially asylum seekers, wishing to come to the UK whilst it is part of the EU. Focusing on policies such as the Dublin Regulation, she asks how the situation could change after Brexit, and argues that the UK has more control over third country migration than Brexit campaigners imply. 

The Brexit campaign, and especially UKIP’s breaking point poster, suggested that the European Union did not control the immigration of third country nationals (i.e. non-EU citizens) and that this resulted in uncontrolled immigration into the UK. According to Eurosceptics, voting for Brexit would hence help the UK ‘take back control’, not only of the migration of EU citizens, but of third country nationals as well.

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Flights from Freedom

e-hoffmanEva Hoffman, former editor of The New York Times and Visiting Professor at the UCL European Institute, asks what propels individuals to turn to extremist movements and argues that we need to build a ‘culture of democracy’ with shared norms and ethics.

Among all the disturbing developments accompanying the rise of ISIS and its terrible progress, the phenomenon of European jihadis joining that movement’s ranks – and in some cases becoming suicide-bombers or taking part in the beheadings of hostages –is, to many Western observers, the most chillingly perplexing. Why do hundreds of Muslims, many of them educated and from comfortable backgrounds, decide to leave the politically temperate zones of Western democracies and join a movement of such barbaric brutality? What makes these young men and women so susceptible to the extremist Islamist message? Continue reading

Viktor Orbán, Refugees And The Threat To Europe

patternIstván Pogány, Emeritus Professor at the University of Warwick, argues that the real threat to Europe does not come from an increasing number of migrants travelling into the continent, but rather from the anti-multiculturalism rhetoric of some of its political leaders, and in particular Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

As European leaders grapple with the unprecedented influx of asylum seekers, Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, has repeatedly expressed his belief that the mostly Middle Eastern and predominantly Muslim refugees represent a grave threat to Europe. Orbán has argued that the ‘migrants’ (he refuses to acknowledge that most of them may be genuine refugees) represent a culture and a set of values that are irreconcilable with the core principles of European civilisation: a Christian heritage, belief in the rule of law, fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and gender equality. Continue reading

Has liberalism gone missing in East Central Europe, or has it always been absent?

fenceThe refugee crisis highlights that it is time to reassess the contribution of East Central Europe’s mainstream parties of ‘liberals’ who are better at winning elections than at being liberal. James Dawson and Seán Hanley, experts in Central and East European politics at UCL, investigate.

Images from Hungary showing security forces turning tear gas and water cannon on refugees from behind a newly fortified border will come as little surprise to many observers of East Central Europe.

The government of Victor Orbán has systematically exploited the refugee crisis to ramp up a long-standing rhetoric of nationalist intolerance and consolidate its grip on power by passing a raft of emergency powers, further eroding Hungary’s once robust legal checks and balances. Such actions have drawn a storm of international opprobrium – including harsh criticism from the governments of Austria, Croatia and Serbia, all of which have taken a more humane and pragmatic approach to managing the influx of refugees. Continue reading

A Syrian tragedy turning into a European tragedy

grass-fence-border-propertyGëzim Krasniqi, Fellow at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies, traces the shifting routes chosen by refugees from Syria—and how the EU’s lack of a coordinated policy has been turning the Syrian tragedy into a European one. It has left the Balkan states with a refugee crisis impossible to master.

The current mass movement of refugees and migrants to Europe crossing several state borders, including the borders of the ‘EU fortress’, is unparalleled in the continent’s modern history. Far from taking a unified stance on the ensuing crisis, countries in the European Union have acted in what has turned out to be a selfish and rather irresponsible manner, with few exceptions. Moreover, the growing refugee and migrant influx has led to a series of diplomatic disputes between EU member states. All this has only made the crisis worse, with consequences both for transit and destination countries as well as for the refugees and migrants themselves. Beyond the mere humanitarian dimension of the situation, the current flow of refugees and migrants raises a number of important issues. Continue reading