London – ESI at Conservative European Forum Roundtable discussion on EU-UK relations and migration

19 September 2023

ESI’s Gerald Knaus was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion on EU-UK relations and refugee policy organised by the Conservative European Forum.  

Gerald argued that the UK and EU face a significant challenge in the refugee crisis, and acting separately is ineffective. Simplifying asylum processes and creating secure entry routes for refugees can improve the situation. He pointed out that politics hinders better cooperation, but showing factual benefits of collaboration could lead to change. This issue tests values, and joint efforts could benefit both the UK and EU.

With regard to the situation in the English Channel, Gerald presented ESI’s analysis on Safe Third Countries, contesting the idea that externalizing the UK’s refugee obligations violates international law. He suggested an alternative: returning asylum-seekers to countries like France and Germany, with the UK taking more refugees in return.

Gerald debated with Øyvind Hernes (Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Norwegian Embassy) Anna Iasmil Vallianatou (Academy Associate, Chatham House), Camille Le Coz (Associate Director, Migration Policy Institute Europe), Paolo Mari (Counsellor, Embassy of Italy),  Gunes Kalkan (Head of Campaigns and Communications, Safe Passage), Stephen Ryan (Minister Counsellor, EU Delegation to the United Kingdom), David Simmonds (CBE – Member of Parliament), Madeleine Sumption (Director, Migration Observatory), and Laura Taylor (Director, Refugee, Asylum & Migration Policy Project (RAMP)). The discission was chaired by Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate.