Will Europe Survive Its "Refugee Crisis"?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
East Quad Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Jeroen Doomernik , Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, University of Amsterdam
To some observers, the “Turkey deal” that seemingly solved Europe’s “refugee crisis” laid bare moral flaws in the EU’s fabric because it effectively spelled the end to the EU’s commitment to the UN Refugee Convention. Others are of the view that the sheer number of asylum seekers and the resulting refugee integration challenges left the EU no choice but the radically reduce the inflows. This paper argues that the “Turkey deal” is not necessarily evidence for moral bankruptcy and should first and foremost be interpreted as the technocratic outcome of a collective action problem between the EU’s member states that earlier failed to complete what was to become a Common European Asylum System. This failure in turn is best understood as the expediency to not precisely define the political nature of the European Union. As a result, the EU’s integration until now could progress by stealth (much in line with neo-functionalist reasoning) and even supposedly survive the Greek debt-crisis but the main question this paper asks is whether a proper and durable European solution to the “refugee crisis” can be found to replace ad hoc policies which might for the time being save the European project but would ultimately prove critics of its moral bearings right.