Opportunities for Transnational Solidarity Mobilisation? Civil Society Organisations in Support of Refugees in Greece, Germany and Denmark

Thursday, July 13, 2017
East Quad Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Maria Kousis , Sociology, University of Crete
Ulrike Zschache , Dept. of Social Sciences, University of Siegen
Hans-Joerg Trenz , CEMES (Centre for Modern European Studies), University of Copenhagen
With the so called refugee crisis unfolding since late 2014, the number of refugees and/or migrants entering the European Union has increased drastically. Such an unprecedented inflow of refugees poses a significant challenge to the Europe of solidarity and human rights. On the one hand, the urgency to take humanitarian action is underlined by the tragedies at Europe’s external borders. On the other hand, the Europe of solidarity and human rights is increasingly compromised in the way the refugee crisis is reinterpreted as a security challenge with a growing number of countries deciding to seal off their borders and to suspend commonly agreed standards of humanitarian aid and protection. In this article, we wish to underlie a political opportunity approach, which considers favourable and unfavourable conditions for transnational solidarity action as mobilised by civil society. By taking a bottom-up perspective we explain the emergence of transnational solidarity action from local and national civil society in relation to opportunities and threats as provided by the macro-context of legal frameworks, institutional setting and existing regimes of governance. By comparing Greece, Germany and Denmark, we are able to identify the particular features of opportunities and threats in time and place, but also how these conditional factors are interlinked in the EU framework of asylum.