Avoiding Disintegration

Saving Refugees to Save Europe

Volunteers help migrants and refugees on a dingy as they arrive at the shore of the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on Sunday, March 20, 2016. In another incident two Syrian refugees have been found dead on a boat on the first day of the implementation of an agreement between the EU and Turkey on handling the new arrivals. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Volunteers help refugees arriving in Greece.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The current crisis is not a one-off event; it augurs a period of higher migration pressures for the foreseeable future. For the E.U. to survive it needs to develop a comprehensive migration and asylum policy.

  • Facts


    • The refugee crisis and Brexit have reinforced xenophobic, nationalist movements.
    • The E.U. lacks a comprehensive asylum and migration policy.
    • Greece has been turned into a de facto holding pen with inadequate facilities.
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The refugee crisis in Europe was already pushing the European Union toward disintegration when, on June 23, it helped drive the British to vote to Brexit the E.U.

The refugee crisis and the Brexit calamity that it spawned have reinforced xenophobic, nationalist movements that will seek to win a series of upcoming votes– including national elections in France, the Netherlands, and Germany in 2017, a referendum in Hungary on the E.U. refugee policy on October 2, and a rerun of the Austrian presidential election.

Rather than uniting to resist this threat, E.U. member states have become increasingly unwilling to cooperate with one another. They pursue self-serving, beggar-thy-neighbor migration policies – such as building border fences – that further fragment the Union, seriously damage member states, and subvert global human-rights standards.

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