The Eu And The Refugee Crisis

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The EU and the refugee crisis

Fruit of an unprecedented wave of immigration, in 2015 and 2016 the European Union had to agree on a series of measures to face the complex casuistry of the moment, knowing that the type of measures taken towards more “developing” or “securitized” policies would compromise the institutional course of the same, since they put in the point of view the foundations, principles and values ​​on which the European Union was founded.

First of all, it is convenient to make the distinction between asylum applicants and refugees. Asylum seekers are people who, when they arrive at a country, formally request that they are granted asylum because their life is in danger in their country of origin. On the other hand, refugees are people fleeing their countries of origin to save their lives and who have been accepted and recognized as such in their reception countries. 

Some chilling figures that illustrate the seriousness of the situation are the more than five million applicants from unique asylum applicants (discounting those people who request it several times) in Europe since 2008, although there was an unprecedented peak in 2015 and 2016 , when the figures amounted to 1257000 and 1206000, respectively. Most applicants come from Syria and Iraq, where the unstable situation in their countries of origin leads them to try to escape political oppression, hunger, war and misery. The destination countries, according to the official registry of the European Commission are mainly three: Germany, Italy and France. 

The European Union has not remained completely consistent in its strategy but, unfortunately, it has evolved at the same time that the subject of the immigrant crisis became a fundamental point of the political agenda of the Member States that has been used in a biased and manipulated speech-shaped- solidarity and then xenophobic- always for electoral purposes.

The European Union tries to establish a firm and well -defined road map, but it meets obstacles that come from the states themselves, who deny complying with the acceptance quotas required by it, among other reluctance and objections.

Next, these obstacles are being analyzed in each priority of the European Union according to the main points of the Commission’s report to the European Parliament, the Council, to the European Economic and Social Committee and the Regions Committee: a European agenda of Migration, published by the European Commission in Brussels on May 13, 2015. 

The declaration of the European Council of April 23, 2015 and the resolution of the European Parliament, which occurred a few days later, focused on the salvation of lives in the sea – with an increase in funds in joint operations of the Frontex, reinforcement of reinforcement of joint operations framed within the PCSD and the identification of traffickers with the collaboration of the Interpol- The relocation of mass arrivals within the European Union, a common approach when it comes to granting protection to the displaced ones if necessary, the work in Association with third countries to address migration from its origin and the use of EU instruments to help states that have been in "First Line". 

Faced with this operational ideal, reality has been another very different. These countries "on the front line", despite not being the final destination of asylum seekers, have to endure economic and political costs greater than the Central European countries. Until entered 2015, the Frontex was above all a cooperation agency in intelligence and risk analysis rather than an operational body, until the creation of a coastal guard and EU borders that considerably expanded its competitions, its powers, its powers, All this funded with instruments such as the European refugee Fund or the subsequent Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. 

Of course, both the creation of compensation mechanisms and the same coastal guard have generated resistance by certain states, which, promoted by a nationalist and xenophobic political discourse, has led to unilateral decision making that serve exclusively to national interests. Along with this, precisely after the unilateral decision of closing the borders by certain countries on the Balkan route, the Frontex had to deploy special operations to intercept migrants and stop traffickers. This unilaterality in decision -making shows the intrinsic insufficiencies of the Frontex itself. 

With this, the immediacy and effectiveness claimed by the commission on its European migration agenda have been diminished due to the lack of commitment of the Member States and also due to the lack of assumption of the EU governance itself.

With regard to the collaboration with third countries, where it is worth noting Turkey, the European Union is being pressed to accelerate negotiations and serve the strategic and geopolitical interests of the Erdogan government in exchange for a short -term solution such as retaining the refugees and admit sporadically to the expelled.

Fruit of these negotiations, the agreement "one by one" is raised, according to which "all irregular migrants arrived at the EU would be returned to Turkey, and a Syrian refugee from Turkey would be returned in European territory for each Syrian who would expel the EU that the EU would expel to turquia". Among the advantages that Turkey is obtaining from the European Union in exchange for its “collaboration” it is worth highlighting the start of facilities in its accession process (contradicting the ee’s own admissibility criteria), the fat eye before its authoritarian drift and aids economic. 

Another very prominent area of ​​the European Migration Agenda is that the immigration crisis in the Mediterranean has called attention to the structural limitations of the migration policy and the instruments available to carry it out. To do this, Juncker proposed, above all, greater coherence between development cooperation, commerce, and the respective external and interior affairs agendas to develop a common solid asylum policy. 

The main problem of what is called Minstreaming Migration in Development Cooperation Policy in Jarg. This refers to the linking of economic aid and incentives to third countries to the signing of the readmission agreements of migrants and refugees in a clear example of bureaucratic policy. A country that exemplifies this transactional mentality in its relations with the EU is Morocco, which has an advantageous position in certain economic agreements in exchange for its collaboration in immigration from Africa.

Additionally, it should be noted that these readmission agreements have been maintained as a bilateral competence and, therefore, has generated great imbalances in the distribution of loads (Burden Sharing). Again, it is more evidence that shows the lack of EU governance, since these asymmetries totally contravene the principle of solidarity that defines the policy of migration, asylum and border control, as well as the EU itself. What is more, demonstrates that progress towards greater European integration to which we were accustomed can no longer be assumed as a premise if not the opposite, in certain matters such as migration we move towards European de-integration and prioritization of national policies.

In short, given the reality of migration and its boom in 2015 and 2016, the position of the EU member states has derived towards a “securitized” position understanding as such a short -term vision that has materialized in a gradual disinterest in assuming to assume The proportional part of responsibility marked by the European Union, all accentuated by the rise to the power of certain nationalist parties, which have used a xenophobic discourse for electoral purposes in a quite successful way in some cases.

When contrasting the European Migration Agenda, a report issued by the European Commission that aims to define a roadmap and analysis of priorities in migration, the inconsistencies and limitations of EU institutions, organizations and policies of the EU are evident. This can be seen in the reduction of certain states in their contributions to the EU financial instruments to expand the powers of the Frontex or the subject of the EU to the national interests of Turkey in exchange for the retention of refugees (even when certain agreements They require contravening their own democratic principles of it). Finally, we can also observe it in the asymmetry in the commitment of the Member States to the Admission Agreements, because they remain as a bilateral competence instead of proceeding from the Union.

All of the above to conclude that the refugee crisis in Europe has revived the debate on European integration or intention and that, unfortunately, the management of its migration policy only demonstrates that states ensure every time more for their national interests and prioritize them against trying to find a community solution more based on the principles of solidarity and equity that fed the creation of the European Union very.


  • European Comission. (May 13, 2015). Communication of the Commission to the European Parliament, to the Council, to the European Economic and Social Committee and to the Regions Committee: a European Migration Agenda. Brussels. Obtained from https: // ec.Europe.EU/Home-Affairs/SITES/Homeaffairs/Files/What-We-Do/Policies/European-Agenda-Migration/Background-Information/Docs/Communication_on_the_european_agenda_on_migration_es.PDF
  • European Commission. (April 18, 2018). Obtained from Eurostat Statistics Explanred: https: // ec.Europe.EU/Eurostat/Statistics-Explained/Index.PHP?Title = Asylum_statistics/es & ardid = 409325
  • European Parliament. (July 14, 2017). European Parliament News. Obtained from http: // www.Europarl.Europe.EU/NEWS/ES/HEADLINES/SOCIETY/20170629STO78630/LA-CRISIS-MIGRATORY-EN-CIFRAS
  • SANAHUJA, J. A. (2016). The European Union and the refugee crisis: governance failures, securitization and "check -up diplomacy" . Unplazable challenges in the international system. , 71-105.       

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