Migration and Europe

Anti-migrant protest in Austria, 2015
The fear and anxiety generated by the massive migrant influx of 2015 has spilled over from a few right-wing parties on the margins into Europe’s political mainstream (source: dpa)
  • Even as the migrant inflow to Europe eases, the policy response remains inadequate
  • The June European Council was an unsuccessful attempt to improvise a quick fix
  • Mounting political pressures will force EU leaders to come up with stronger meaures

“Europe has many challenges, but migration could end up determining Europe’s destiny,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told German lawmakers on the eve of the European Council meeting in June, where migration was at the top of the agenda. Leading lights in the policy community back her up. Ivan Krastev asserts that migration has replaced social class as the main dividing line in European politics.

The migrant crisis is widely held responsible for the European Union’s current difficulties, especially the rise of populism and Brexit. With anti-immigrant populists in power in several EU countries, mainstream leaders are eager to prove that they, too, are tough on immigration.

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