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European Refugee Crisis and the European Union's Restriction

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Human Rights
Wordcount: 2462 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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A Study on the Analysis of the European Refugee Crisis and the European Union’s Restriction on the Response of the Refugee Crisis. What is the implications of the refugee crisis for the European Union?

With the influx of refugees, Europe is experiencing an unprecedented crisis. There have been serious conflicts and divisions among European countries over the solution to the refugee problem, and social tensions are growing at a rapid pace in the region. There has been a fierce debate among EU members over sharing the cost of accepting refugees, and the spread of xenophobia within each member country has resulted in the rise of far-right political forces, threatening European values of democracy, human rights, rule of law and cultural engagement. The rapid growth of ultra-rightists is leading to the rapid progress of far-right parties in European Parliament elections, general elections and local elections in various EU member states. The refugee crisis, along with the aftermath of the Great Recession still under way since the outbreak of the 2008 global financial crisis, is amplifying uncertainties in Europe. 

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The response to the refugee issue is in different ways from country to country. Some countries, such as Germany, which has publicly declared that it will actively accept refugees, others in Central Europe, which is blocking the passage of refugees by erecting barriers, and others in Southern Europe, which is struggling to accommodate and process large influx of refugees as the first destination for refugees. Because countries have different interests, people have different attitudes toward refugees, and the ability to accommodate refugees varies from country to country, there are also frequent conflicts of opinion among countries about the solution of the refugee problem. As a result, the refugee issue facing Europe is also called the biggest crisis of European integration. I will first analyze refugees from a realistic and idealistic perspective. Second, I will discuss the current EU refugee policy based on the idealism theory. Then I will discuss the current refugee crisis in Europe in response to EU Policy by country based on the theory of realism. Finally, I will discuss the limitations of the European Union on current refugee issues based on the preceding narrative.

First of all, the realistic position sees national interests as the starting point for discussions on refugee policy on a state-centered basis. In other words, because the state is a rational and single actor, it constitutes a policy of restricting or accepting refugees in accordance with national interests. Individual countries also stress the need for border controls to maintain sovereignty. For them, all forms of immigration, including illegal refugees and refugees, are the same in terms of third-party countries, which are against national interests across the border, so the inflow of refugees should be controlled in some form for safety and stability within the territory. In realism, refugee interests will be the basis for judgment on the acceptance and rejection of refugees in a state-centered premise. Thus, the need for border control may be raised as a means of maintaining sovereignty. The acceptance of refugees could provide a cause for border control in the event of conflict with national interests.

The liberal position, on the other hand, is more concerned with humanitarian aid to refugees than with realism, and underlines cooperative joint policies in bringing in refugees. Non-state actors such as international organizations and NGOs also maintain a more flexible stance on the refugee issue. Humanitarian liberals mainly shed light on refugees in terms of humanitarianism based on human rights. For them, a person has the right to live in an area of their desire so that he or she is not persecuted, politically or economically. The liberal development of the EU’s internal refugee policy was based on these discussions. In liberalism, refugees are subject to humanitarian aid. One of the fundamental rights of human beings is the right to live in the desired area. The basic assumption of the liberal view is that refugees are subject to humanitarian aid until the root cause of their occurrence is extinguished, although they are not natural. The European Union is currently carrying out various joint and individual national policies to deal with refugees. The joint policy is being formulated from a liberal point of view in which all countries are responsible for a certain portion of the burden, while individual national policies, from a realistic point of view, are meant to protect national interests as much as possible.

The EU has long accepted and dealt with refugees under the principle of respecting the right to life for refugees from various types of disasters or conflicts in neighboring Middle East or African countries, for example. From the point of view of humanitarianism, the EU has not hesitated to accommodate many of the victims and refugees that occur in its neighboring country. The refugee issue was originally under the control of individual countries, but a common European asylum system was created in 1997 when the “Europeanization” of the Amsterdam treaty’s immigration-exile policy was signed. In the past, decision-making on the refugee issue followed government-to-government approaches, but the joint decision-making process has been made to some extent since the Amsterdam Treaty. This means that the refugee policy of individual member states remains important, but in a large framework, the refugee policy of member states will inevitably be affected by the joint refugee policy.

The big framework for the EU’s joint refugee policy is contained in the Dublin Regulations, signed in 1990. The Dublin Regulations is a 49-point treaty on the treatment of refugees entering Europe, signed in June 1990 by 12 European countries in Dublin, Ireland, and took effect in 1997. Under the Dublin Convention, the first EU country to arrive will be responsible for accepting applications for refugees. The agreement is aimed at preventing so-called “venue shopping,” in which people from a third country arrive inside EU stations and apply for refugee status to various member states. Feeling threatened by the influx of refugees and other migrants who continue to flock to Europe, the EU manages its borders on a community-level basis based on the Schengen agreement. Under the agreement refugees who arrive in the Schengen country can move to the European region of their choice if they are recognized for their refugee status there. It guarantees the freedom of choice for the refugee’s residential areas.

However, a new solution was needed as it became a reality, with critics pointing out that it would not solve problems that would result from the mounting burden of unequal management in neighboring countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain. The limitations of these Dublin rules have been fully recognized by the EU Commission, and have offered a new solution to them, and that is the refugee quota system that is currently in effect. The main content of the refugee quota system is to allocate refugees by country, taking into account the population and economic scale of EU member states and the status of refugee acceptance. The refugee quota system shows that Europe is trying to solve the crisis of refugees in a community. It relieves the pressure of southern Europe of the influx of refugees.

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There are two major European reactions to the refugee issue. First, there is a tolerant attitude that has emerged as Germany’s ” Wilkommenkultur: culture of welcome” and Chancellor Merkel’s “open-door policy.” Against this backdrop, there is also a realistic calculation that by accepting large numbers of refugees, they can become a vital force for the German economy. Germany is estimated to need more than 2 million new young workers over the next decade amid forecasts that it will soon suffer from a severe labor shortage due to the aging process. In the case of refugees, many are highly educated, attached to life, and motivated to better life. They are those who can decide to escape from their country in a civil war and mobilize the resources necessary to implement it (such as physical resources, information and human networks). From the perspective of immigration, they are quality labor. As Germany faces an era of low birth rate and aging population, refugees from the Middle East and North Africa may play a role in providing labor supply and demand if they can embrace racial, religious and cultural diversity. (Roda MadjiviaJuliet, 18 Sep 2017)

  On the other hand, European countries in the Middle East, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, have expressed their position that they cannot accept the influx of refugees. They say that the allocation of refugees is not a fundamental solution to the refugee problem and that the inflow of refugees will continue, and that European countries in the Middle East, which have a short history of immigration acceptance and a smaller immigrant society, do not have an emotional mechanism to welcome refugees, and that their economic capacity is already limited as they suffer from high unemployment.  In the Middle East, nationalism works as a valuable ideological mechanism that provides unity and identity. Against this backdrop, they are opposed to the idea that if large numbers of refugees were forced to be allocated and accepted at the EU level, it would put an unaffordable burden on the issue of social integration and economic costs. These countries have been fiercely resisting the quota system, which was actively pursued by Germany and the EU Commission, and have built a barrier to the Balkans crossing the Mediterranean Sea to block the flow of refugees to EU member states.

Decisions to accept or reject refugees differ from country to country because they take into account security issues. The state prioritizes its survival, so it decides whether the refugees will be accepted or not, depending on whether they are conducive to their survival. Currently, governments recognize the influx of large numbers of refugees as a serious threat to national security. Currently, European countries are concerned that the influx of refugees from the Middle East may include Islamic State members. Also, people are concerned that a massive influx of refugees will trigger competition with the people of the host country for limited resources and jobs, and lead to a rapid deterioration of the government’s finances, which will lead to greater political instability here. Countries can be open-minded about the small influx of refugees, but it’s a completely different situation that more than 15,000 refugees a day continue to flow, as in Germany.

The cross-border movement is a phenomenon in poor countries, but countries that accept refugees require a considerable degree of care. The refugee issue is a sensitive issue that can have a significant impact on domestic political, economic, social and cultural areas, while also posing a new security threat, such as international crime, terrorism and drug issues. But no country in the European Union can solve its own security-related refugee problems. Therefore, all EU member states are striving to ensure that the refugee issue is thoroughly in the national interest while taking a unified asylum policy at the national level. Thus, the EU’s immigration and asylum policy will inevitably emerge as a dual conflict between the spread of normative power and member interests because of a structure that cannot ignore the independent problem-solving methods of member states as a complementary principle for the time being.

Europe’s refugee crisis, along with the economic crisis of some member states and Muslim terrorism, is once again testing the union and solidarity of the EU. As the mechanism of overcoming the crisis shown in the process of European integration is not working properly, this crisis is serious. External threats are causing changes in the domestic political situation of member states, which are directed toward strengthening national sovereignty rather than integration factors.  The internal conflict at the level of EU agencies and member states arising from the refugee issue is amplified by the preferences of individual countries and may even raise the possibility of threatening the identity of the community The refugee issue is an important factor in security at the level.


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