The European Union migration crisis.
Borg Barthet, Justin
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BORG-BARTHET, J. and LYONS, C. 2016. The European Union migration crisis. Edinburgh Law Review [online], 20(2), pages 230-235. Available from: https://dx.doi.org/10.3366/elr.2016.0346
On 9 September 2010 the body of a man who had fallen from a British Airways flight to Heathrow was discovered in a wealthy west-London suburb. It is hard to pinpoint any one precise origin of the migration crisis currently unfolding in Europe, but the migrant who fell from the sky in his extreme efforts to enter a Europe otherwise closed to him was to foreshadow something on a much larger scale which has shaken European integration to its very core. The mass movement of more than a million refugees and migrants (many fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq) into European countries during 2015, the migration crisis so called, has generated an extreme level of disruption and disunity in the European Union and its member states as they strive to deal with the arrivals. But the crisis is, first and foremost, a humanitarian catastrophe of a kind unseen in Europe since the 1930s and 40s. Images from Lesbos and Lampedusa, among others, bear witness to the magnitude of the human cost of the crisis, which is still growing at an alarming rate at the time of writing. This note argues that the humanitarian crisis points to more deep-seated and long-standing problems in the governance of the European Union. As the EU and its member states struggle with the pressures of mass movement of displaced people, the treatment of those people exposes what can only be described as a crisis of European values. It is, in many ways, a stark exposé of shortcomings in the application of European fundamental rights, humanitarian law, and neighbourhood policy.