The 2015 Migration Crisis As a Challenge to the Eu's Social and System Integration

Friday, July 14, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - G466 (University of Glasgow)
Marko Mrakovčić , Faculty of Law, University of Rijeka
Nikola Petrović , Institute for Social Research in Zagreb
The 2015 migrant crisis has a potential of profoundly transforming the EU as it opened old and new cleavages within European society and within nation-state societies, but also opened opportunities for deeper integration. Media coverage was primarily concentrated on clashes between the European Commission and Visegrád Group leaders over refugee quotas, on the rise of far-right political parties who were using the crisis to promote their ideology and on the influence of migrant crisis on the Brexit vote.  It is argued here that on the other hand the migrant crisis at the same time contributed to the deepening of European integration through cooperation on the strengthening of the outside EU borders, suspension of the Dublin system, which had strong disintegrationist tendencies during the crisis, and through contributing to the EU’s self-perception as a normative and soft power.

Some sociological approaches distinguishing between social and system integration are applied here in order to explain different stances of European leaders towards the European asylum policies. These approaches enable the analysis of how social actors position themselves in real situations with respect to institutional solutions generated by the system or one of its parts, and how the outcomes of this relation influence the (in)stability of the existing social order and the cooperation/conflict between social actors. Furthermore, these approaches are significant because they show that, depending on the stance that actors take towards existing or systems of rules, the existing social order will reproduce in the existing form or it will modify or transform.