To understand the rise of populism we need to engage and care about questions as dignity of work, uncriticized financialization of market driven economy, growing inequality, missing solidarity and the fear of immigration.
- Germany is not immune to the phenomenon of religious radicalism. Over the past six years, about one thousand foreign fighters have left Merkel’s country for Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and other terrorist groups.
- But what is the contemporary world like and in particular, how can we describe contemporary international relations?
- If we want to understand what is going on today in France, we need to start by saying something about the global geopolitical trend, of which France is obviously part.
- Kusai only talks about returning home to Syria. Navigating the Islamist checkpoints and shoot-to-kill Turkish border guards to reach the destroyed city of Aleppo is preferable to waiting for the border to open.
- On March 18 the European leaders agreed on a plan with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to Europe, called the EU-Turkey Statement, which is well know by now for its controversy. The deal was presented as the last resort for the EU to address the migration crisis amid growing division among the member states on how to handle it. During the summer of 2015, confrontation among member states grew, as two opposing strategies revealed different visions to address the migration crisis.
- Over the last years, we witnessed the worst refugee crisis since World War II (1); starting from 2011, when level stood at 42.5 million, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide has steadily increased, reaching up to 59.5 millions individuals at the end of 2014. As the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs) continued to grow, it is likely that the total number of forced migrants have far surpassed 60 million (2) in 2015. The rapid acceleration in the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide characterize the current situation in a way that lead politicians, journalists and public opinion to consider it as a migration or refugee crisis. This is fiercely affecting the European Union, as a growing number of migrants are reaching its boarders seeking protection. While the EU is facing this challenge, a debate has been going on at both media and political level concerning the differences between refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants.
- Europe will welcome 160,000 refugees in 2015. Each member state will be called upon to receive a quota in proportion to their economic and demographic size. This is the proposal put forward by the EU Commission’s President Jean-Claude Junker in his ‘State of the Union’ speech on Wednesday. Germany has been promoting this plan and has been putting it into action for some time, giving the the states, the Länder, responsibility for sharing the burden of managing asylum seekers. They are allocated on the basis of the so-called “Königsteiner key”, a system created in the ‘50s and originally aimed at spreading over what was then West Germany the funds destined for research.
- From 2004 onwards, with the EU moving eastward, anti-foreigner attitudes reappeared. The beliefs in Polish plumbers invading western regions, Bulgarian workers “stealing” jobs, and Rumanians (allegedly) promoting illegal activities became widespread in some European societies. This mirrors what happened in the past century, including in 1903 when a royal commission report on the so-called “alien immigration” to the UK discussed Central and Eastern European immigration (at the time mostly of Jews), and, to try to ban it, used words which sound very familiar to us: overcrowding, lack of jobs, and shortage of housing. These nationalist anti-immigrant tendencies resurface quite frequently in European history. The difference is how we approach them and how one frames public debates.
- On June 17th the Hungarian government decided to close its border with Serbia, securing it with metal fencing all along its 175 kilometres. Controversy is rampant. The Serbian government is outraged, with the press reporting on yet another wall in the European fortress. Associations active in the field of migrants’ human rights have, euphemistically speaking, expressed perplexity. According to the Hungarian government, closing the border will stop the flow of migrants that has affected the country in recent months. They almost all transit through Serbia, a fundamental part of the “Balkan route.” Migrants also travel to Europe by land. Frontex, the European agency responsible for monitoring and controlling borders, has reported that, in the first six months of 2015, the same number of people have arrived in Europe from the two Mediterranean routes (one leading to Sicily and the other to Greece) and from the Balkans, amounting to 50,000 migrants.