From the ashes of Moria refugee camp to a new migration system?

Moria camp fire

From the ashes of Moria refugee camp to a new migration system?

Wednesday, 18 November 2020 - 4:00pm
Zoom webinar
Angeliki Dimitriadi (Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP))
Franck Düvell (Osnabrück University)
Elźbieta Goździak (Adam Mickiewicz University)
Foteini Kalantzi (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Foteini Kalantzi (St Antony’s College, Oxford)

On the 8th September 2020, Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesvos burned down. It is a humanitarian catastrophe in a camp designed to host around 3,000 people, but was hosting 13,000 people when the fire broke out. The immediate priorities for the Greek government are to find housing, water and food for the homeless migrants and refugees. The local community is reacting to reconstruction efforts. This catastrophe highlights the need for a coordinated and long-term plan from the EU to effectively manage the migration governance system. As the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson promised there should be "no more Morias”.  

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EU border states like Greece and Italy are forced to process the bulk of asylum claims and the Dublin Regulation has been criticised for absence of burden sharing between members states, and previous efforts to reform have failed.  On the 23rd of September, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the Dublin Regulation will be abolished replacing it with a new European migration governance system, which will have ‘common structures on asylum and return and it will have a new strong solidarity mechanism’. In light of the present dire situation in the Greek refugee camps, the upcoming EU decisions, and also the pandemic crisis that further exacerbates the problems in the refugee camps, the webinar is an opportunity to discuss the prospects of the new migration pact.

According to the EU, the new pact aims to create faster border screening processes at the external borders, and better share the burden of relocating asylum seekers. Migration experts have already expressed their doubts about the proposal. They say that the Commission’s plan is unrealistic because of the inflexibility of Eastern and Central European countries. Also, critics point to the fact that the pact is an attempt to prevent, deter and return migrants, who reach European shores. Concurrently, human rights groups have condemned EU and Greek practices of pushbacks and a systemic denial of entry to asylum seekers.

Some of the issues that will be addressed in the webinar are the following: 

  • What are the main problems in the current migration governance system that need to be tackled? As the new pact has been formulated, have the main issues concerning migration and asylum governance been addressed? What are the obstacles posed by Visegrad countries and how can the EU overcome them?
  • Which policy ideas could work in order toward a fair burden-sharing?  

Angeliki Dimitriadi is Head of the Migration Program at ELIAMEP and Senior Research Fellow. She is a political scientist interested in irregular migration and asylum, and the interplay between migratory movement and policies of deterrence and protection. Her research looks on Europe, particularly the front-line countries (especially Greece) but also countries of origin (Afghanistan, Pakistan) and transit (Turkey). She has published articles in referred journals and is the author of two monographs, “Transit migration to Greece: the case of Afghans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis” (Nissos publishing, in Greek) and “Afghan migration Europe: at the margins, looking in” (Springer/Palgrave, 2017). She was Visiting Fellow in residence on migration and asylum policy at the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin between October 2015 and April 2016. She holds a PhD from Democritus University of Thrace (2012), an MA from King’s College London (2003) and a BSc from the London School of Economics (2002).

Franck Düvell is Senior Researcher at the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS), Osnabruck University, and at the German Centre for Integration and Migration Research in Berlin (DeZIM). Until 2020, he was the head of the migration department at DeZIM. Until 2018, he was associate professor and senior researcher at the Centre for Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford. Previously, worked for SEO Amsterdam Economics, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, Nicolaas Witsen Foundation, was Jean Monet Fellow at the European University Institute, research fellow at University of Exeter, part-time lecturer at University of Bremen and did consultancies for or provided evidence to the International Organization for Migration, OSCE and provided evidence to the EU Council, the Council of Europe, the British parliament, House of Lords, the Turkish Directorate General for Migration Management and many others. He holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Bremen, has more than 20 years of experience in conducting and leading research, analysis and policy advice and is an expert on international migration including refugee, irregular and highly-skilled migration and migration governance. He has published 10 books and 50 research articles in internationally renowned journals. 

Elzbieta M Gozdiak is currently a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Migration Studies (CeBaM) at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland.  Previously, she was Research Professor at Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University (2002-2018) and served as the George Soros Visiting Chair in Public Policy at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary (Fall 2016). Her most recent publication is a volume (co-edited with Izabella Main and Brigitte Suter) Europe and the Refugee Response: A Crisis of Values?

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