Debatabase@Europe

Theme of the month: International Migration

The Arab Spring saw thousands of people abandon their homes and try to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach the European Union to avoid the violent conflict in their areas. The Italian island of Lambadeusa was at the centre of this flight, with iconic images of the local community helping refugees in makeshift camps being broadcast around the world.

However, there was intense political debate about whether or not these people had a right to come to Europe in the first place. Other states pressure the ones on Europe’s external borders, such as Italy, Spain and Greece, to tighten their controls on illegal immigration. The Evros river, the easternmost land border of the European Union, sits now next to a security fence designed to keep immigrants out.

Europe has a long and proud tradition of multiculturalism that is now facing increased opposition, not only from far-right fringe groups but also from leading politicians who call for a review of the way their states guard their borders. The question is whether Europe can continue being welcome to migrants and still achieve the social cohesion necessary for its continued prosperity, or if it should further close its borders to those that seek to be part of it.

"Old" and "New" Europe

EU's role in the world

Solidarity in Europe

Society and Culture