Impact of migration crisis on modern political processes in EU

Nazim Abdullayev,
master’s student,School of Governance and Politics, MGIMO University

Abstract: The problems of population migration exist in all countries all over the world. At all times, the migration of the population was viewed not only as a process of a simple territorial movement of people, but also as a phenomenon that affects virtually all aspects of public life - political, legal, socio-economic, social and labor, the spheres of interethnic relations in society, as well as cultural, demographic, and other fields.

Key words: migration, migrants, crisis, refugees, policy

As migration increasingly affects society, the main problem is how to regulate it in order to maximize the positive effect and minimize the potential negative consequences. Unlike previous historical periods, modern migration cannot be so much affected by the authoritarian influence; it requires the creation of a management system that takes the form of an independent social institution capable of solving new tasks in fundamentally new ways.

Today, migration puts forward new demands on the activities of state authorities, its characteristics, determine the direction of socio-economic development of the country or even the whole region in many ways. In this regard, it should be noted that modern migration has become one of the most pressing problems in the management of society.

The EU’s values policy has for years been – and this remains the case – focused on exporting European norms. Little attention has been paid to strengthening and firmly rooting these values within the Union itself. An active policy based on firm conditionality which promotes EU values ends, in principle, the moment a country joins the Union. In this area the EU has at its disposal only Article 7 of the TFEU. Following a complicated procedure requiring, at a certain stage, consensus from the Member States, this allows sanctions to be imposed. Now there is a new challenge.

The problem of migration has been one of the most important for the European Union (EU) for a long period of time. Since 2015, illegal migration in European countries is a very big problem. Illegal migration caused deep disagreements between European leaders and marked the framework, within which they are ready to cooperate.

Migration processes also influenced the domestic political situation in European countries.

 The migration crisis, which peaked in mid-2015, was a surprise for the European Union.

In February and March 2016, the European Council, consisting of heads of states and governments of the EU member states, adopted a whole range of measures to overcome the crisis.

 The European countries agreed to stop the Balkan migration path, strengthen the protection of the external borders of the EU and conclude an agreement with Turkey, which was and remains a transit country for the vast majority of refugees from the Middle East.

If we consider the situation in Europe as a whole, the EU is increasingly "closed" for migrants. In addition to the Croatia and Hungary which directly faced the flow of migrants, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Germany, declared temporary restoration of border controls bypassing the Schengen agreements (involving free movement in the visa-free zone). Finland is strengthening control at the border with Sweden. Access to refugees was also closed by Bulgaria.

Despite the fact that this situation looks like an act of a unified EU policy, there is really no coherence in the actions of its members. Each country establishes restrictions on the reception of migrants to the extent and only if it sees a threat to themselves. In addition, since the number of arrivals does not decrease, the tightening of migration control in one place leads to massive and uncontrolled flows of migrants in another.

Inconsistency in the actions of EU members and the lack of a clear vision of how to help refugees is observed at all possible levels. First, at the level of states, whose position largely depends on the dominance of right-wing or left-wing forces, or is a response to public opinion. Secondly, at the level of the leader state which is Germany and has many years of experience in interaction with migrants, but is still changing its strategies as the migration policy fails. Finally, at the EU level, where common interests have conflict with national interests. But it is obvious that the more they delay the issue of helping refugees and the problems that created it, the more they will have to face with a large scale of consequences in the near future.

Efforts in the area of migration policy have to be made by all Member States in order to alleviate the pressure on the main countries of arrival. This means that national leaders have to take responsibility and refrain from nationalistic and anti-migration rhetoric and action which blocks unanimous decision making, forces the EU to resort to Qualified Majority Voting and undermines European solidarity.

Migration is not a threat, but a challenge which also offers opportunities for a continent characterized by demographic decline and with labor markets in need of skilled workers. As an essential part of the European Agenda on Migration, channels of legal migration should be fostered and promoted in order to prevent further humanitarian disasters and counter human trafficking.

Persons seeking international protection should be able to apply for a European humanitarian visa in their country of origin directly. With the issuing of visas on humanitarian grounds currently falling outside the scope of EU law, efforts made by the European Parliament to include specific provisions in the Union Visa Code is welcomed.

A common approach to legal migration under the Union Resettlement Framework is an opportunity to counter migrant smuggling and to disincentivise migrants from choosing the precarious and illegal route to Europe. Resettlement should however not become a tool for migration management superseding the humanitarian objectives in such an approach. This also holds true for the one-for one scheme under the EU-Turkey deal which, albeit having reduced the number of irregular arrivals to the EU, has led to precarious and inhumane conditions for refugees stranded in the Greek islands. The outsourcing of protection responsibilities must be avoided.

In my opinion Europe is experiencing a democratic deficit today because, it has chosen to isolate its citizens from the decision making process on a ground level, when they were never asked about their views, beliefs and best course of action on the immigration/migration as well in the extended border control and security measures. Europe has provided the legal framework (rule of law) and has encouraged justice mechanisms (ECJ case law, case law from the national courts, policymaking, research, etc.) to flourish but it had neglected or underestimated the signs of this refugee outburst for over decade.

If Europe fails on the question of refugees, if this close link with universal civil rights is broken, then it won’t be the Europe the EU states themselves wished for. Concluding, with regards to the supranational governance on the migration area and the role of democratic Europe it should be once more pointed out that it lacks uniform and vertical implementation to the ground base; namely the European citizens.