Refugee Crisis in Focus

The current refugee crisis turned out to be a major test not only for the institutions of the European Union, but also for the European consciousness. Thousands of people arriving at EU borders every day provoked questions at multiple levels – from personal to geopolitical. On this blog, edited by Paweł Marczewski, scholars and commentators connected to the Institute or invited by the editor attempt to provide some answers.

  • Vienna’s War on Drugs: Refugee Crises and the Recriminalization of Narcotics

    The recent refugee crisis in Europe has resurrected many specters the continent thought it had banished. Calls for increased national sovereignty and a limitation on or dismantling of the EU, for an abandonment of multicultural policies and for strict immigration controls, have grown louder and more insistent. It may also revitalize the global drug control regime. Vienna’s efforts to stamp out the drug trade in the 1920s-30s helped birth the global war on drugs. The city’s efforts today may help save it.
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  • In Defence of Free Movement

    Asserting a human right to free movement without explaining how it could be accepted by states as a norm of international law risks disconnecting moral critique from political reform. In the present world the admission of refugees and other forced migrants must be governed by principles of human rights, humanitarian duties and burden sharing between states rather than by a right of free movement.
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  • “Let’s Go England!”: Multiple Facets of the Jungle of Calais

    The jungle is presented in the media as an informal settlement where hardly any service is available, where 4500 people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or Eritrea converge in the hope of crossing the Channel and setting foot on the British soil. Is it really a place of exception, where the rule of law is suspended and the only function of the state is containment?
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  • Where Do We Want the EU’s Borders to Lie?

    The centres and camps that already exist at Europe’s borders (and those being proposed) are not simply de-territorialized, exceptional, ‘waiting spaces’ where European rights do not (yet) apply. They are rather sites that are crucial to the sorting and organization of the right to European rights, through a principle of differentiated inclusion. Access to the right to asylum is thus no longer regulated through physical presence on national territory, but determined in geographically-dispersed locations.
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  • Hungary’s Anti-European Immigration Laws

    Viktor Orbán, who has styled himself as the defender of Europe’s “Christian civilization” against an Islamic invasion, has encouraged other eastern European governments to follow his example in violating EU norms. If Hungarians ultimately opt for an illiberal democracy, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán publicly advocated over a year ago, they must accept certain consequences. These include parting from the European Union and the wider community of liberal democracies.
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  • Central Europe and the Refugees

    West European elites carry the burden of a bad conscience with respect to people from the South. There is nothing of the sort in the East where people are unanimous in recalling their own suffering and their historical innocence, and in affirming that “we are not responsible for the miseries of the world.”
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  • Syrian Origins of the Refugee Crisis: The Cost of No Policy?

    Europe's proximity to Syria means it now has to deal with the refugees. This could have been anticipated in 2013, yet European countries choose to ignore it time and time again. More gravely, by taking a marginal role in the crisis, Europe has let Turkey, the Gulf states, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia determine Syria’s future. It has allowed the most liberal and moderate-minded rebels to be excluded from Syrian politics.
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  • The Refugee Crisis that Europe Solved

    The refugee crisis in Europe after the Second World War was far worse than the EU faces today, but a successful structure arose in 1945 because the world assumed it could solve the refugee problem. Today, we accept refugees as a permanent consequence of modern global affairs and respond to each individual crisis without looking for long-term solutions.
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  • Hungary’s Response to the Refugee Crisis: An Orchestrated Panic

    Why is Hungary, the first communist country to dismantle the Iron Curtain, now busy building a fence in order to keep refugees out? The answer is: domestic politics.
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  • If You Push for Regime Change, You Get the Refugees Too

    Indians, Pakistanis and others have a right to question Europe on its immigration and citizenship policies, not just because of the presence of Asians and Africans in Europe but because none of the European countries have borne the flow of refugees that the South has seen.
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  • Warnings from Another Refugee Crisis

    The last world war began amidst a refugee crisis. In discussions of refugees today, many European politicians neglect to mention how exclusion led to murder the last time around.
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  • Eastern Europe’s Compassion Deficit

    Commenting on the flow of migrants making their way through Hungary to Austria and Germany, a Hungarian journalist told me recently: “We don’t have cities anymore. Only an extended railway station.”
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UkraineInFocus

  • Countrering Fake News… with Fake Expertise?

    The Czech state has set out to fight for the truth and against disinformation using untrustworthy representatives, inspired by a controversial think tank that employs problematic methods. To oppose a disinformation campaign by Russia based on spreading fake news, we have the fake expertise of a think tank that exerts influence on the state administration. Under such circumstances it is not surprising that a center that was meant to confront Russian propaganda has thus far managed only to defend its own existence.
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  • Shedding Light on Corruption: A Small Romanian Victory

    “We see you”. This short message, projected on a building near the Romanian government's headquarters, was the main message from hundreds of thousands of people to their politicians. At 9 PM local time, on Sunday, 5 February 2017, some 250,000 people turned on their mobile phones' flashlights, in a symbolic gesture of “shedding light on corruption”. A total of 600,000 people gathered in Romania that night, making it the largest protest movement in the country since 1989.
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  • From Theresienstadt to Santa Teresa: The Inexpressible in the Last Novels of W.G. Sebald and Roberto Bolaño

    Consciously or not, nearing the end of their lives both authors felt that they should go straight to the "heart of darkness" in their next work. In the middle of the 1990s, when each of the two had already achieved considerable literary recognition and as the end of 20th century drew near, they took up subjects with a link to mass violence and death and created works of dark gravity which obsessively circle around a kind of black hole that gradually sucks in the characters and the readers.
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  • Washington Has Sealed Aleppo’s Fate

    In recent months, the diplomatic posturing in Washington about a cease-fire in Aleppo barely obscured its acquiescence in Bashar al-Assad’s winning the war before the end of the Obama administration. The fall of Aleppo makes us examine who we are. Despite generally honest media coverage, an international mobilization for the besieged city never materialized.
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  • What Lessons Can European Leaders Learn from Trump’s Victory?

    As the news about the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential elections have shocked many in Europe, it is high time for European leaders to learn lessons from the outcome of these elections and – to quote Winston Churchill – not let a good crisis go to waste.
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