The right to protest is a fundamental right in European democracies. Yet in recent times, states have infringed upon this right, whether through legal restrictions such as the declaration of a state of emergency, or through more tangible responses such as policing forces on the ground. This is a worrying trend, which throws into question European governments’ commitment to protecting this right.
The ascension of Josep Borrell to the position of European Union (EU) High Representative (HR/VP) on 1 December 2019 places an EU strategy for Asia that reaches beyond ‘connectivity’ at the center of the political agenda towards the region. This article does not seek to comment on whether this strategy should be carried out. Rather, it assumes that the inherent limitations of the EU’s first coordinated attempt to formulate an EU connectivity strategy for Asia – officially entitled a Joint Communication on ‘Connecting Europe and Asia – building blocks for an EU strategy’ – are sufficiently pronounced to warrant consideration of the question: What should the next strategy be called?
On 29 January, members of the King’s Think Tank European Affairs and Energy and Environment policy centres, and one of the Head Editors visited the European Union institutions in Brussels. Mere hours away from the final vote on the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement from the EU, the visit was one of anticipation, uncertainty, and excitement. Upon arrival in Brussels, we split into two groups: the Energy and Environment policy centre visited the European Parliament, and the European Affairs policy centre first visited the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and then the Parliament, before reconvening in the afternoon at the European Commission and experiencing the unexpected opportunity to witness the aforementioned vote. Below, the two groups detail their visits.
Migration has become a highly debated and fairly misunderstood topic in contemporary politics. While taking part in the European ARISE project (Analysing Refugee Inclusion in Southern Europe) in Southern Italy, I met Hamady, a migrant from Senegal. Whilst telling me about his own perspective on migration, he explained that if you have not ‘witnessed it’ you are unable to fully comprehend it. This is why he believes in the importance of recounting his own experience to sensitise the general public on the issue. ‘It is part of the integration process’, he says.
According to the Geneva Convention, the EU is responsible for people who need international protection. The Dublin Regulation, which is part of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), establishes that the first country a refugee enters is responsible for processing his or her asylum application. This system has proven problematic over recent years. Since the European refugee crisis reached its peak in 2015, the necessity of reforming the Dublin Regulation in the spirit of burden-sharing has become clearer than ever. Burden-sharing involves states taking on responsibility for refugees of other states. For example, countries facing less immigration pressure, such as Romania and Poland, would accept a certain quota of asylum-seekers from countries that receive the most migrants, such as Italy and Greece.
Ahead of the 2019 European Elections, French President Emmanuel Macron declared the need for a ‘European Renewal’ in the context of the Migrant Crisis and the rise of Euroscepticism. While Macron’s European Renaissance outlines many ambitious proposals, one arrangement to tackle European migration, namely the creation of a Common Border Force and a European Asylum Office, must be evaluated. This article argues that Macron’s call for a Common Border Force fails to address issues of migration and Euroscepticism. While the initiative proposes an alternative to the Dublin Regulation, it neglects the concerns of Central European member states regarding migration as well as Eurosceptics’ fear of the increasing jurisdiction of the European Union (EU) over National Parliaments.
On 17 October, King’s Think Tank’s European Affairs and Defence and Diplomacy Policy Centres co-hosted an event exploring migration policy in a time of regional, and potentially global, crisis. The event was interactive, with teams of students grouped together, each with a different migration focus. The event’s aim was to create successful and enactable policy suggestions which would alleviate certain pressures within each migration focus. Whilst the teams were each allocated a specific migration crisis (US-Mexico Border Crisis, European Refugee Crisis, Post-Soviet State migration, Migration from the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar, or Venezuelan/Colombian Migration), they were free to set their own identity and policy focus. Each group then had 2 minutes to present their proposals, competing for the chance to be published on the King’s Think Tank Blog.