Athens – ESI on perceptions and reality: rethinking migration management in Europe

21 March 2024
The Parthenon in Athens
Athens. Photo: brando/Flickr

ESI’s Gerald Knaus was invited by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Athens office and the PRIO Cyprus Center to participate in an expert panel titled: “Germany, Greece and the Future of Humane Migration Control in Europe and the World”.

Gerald began his presentation by marking out the stakes of the current debate, noting that fear over migration has been a driving force for leaders such as Viktor Orban or Donald Trump who seek to subvert post-war liberal democracies. He noted that fear towards migration has further boosted the far-right in Germany, suggesting that the forthcoming European and state elections in Germany could witness the far-right achieving their strongest results in decades.

Gerald Knaus on the safe third country concept. Video: FES Athens

Gerald then explored how Europe can improve its migration management and proposed a shift towards a humane and legal system. He highlighted the counterproductive effects of current migration policies and the failure of harsh rhetoric, emphasizing the need for a practical solution that balances border control with respect for human rights. Gerald then suggested processing asylum claims outside Europe in collaboration with third countries, ensuring fair and rapid procedures. He also advocated for legal migration routes to address Europe’s labour shortages and support European economies. He highlighted that only with international cooperation and legal pathways can we create a sustainable migration policy that benefits both refugees, host countries and partner states.