Berlin – ESI at public debate on migration policy: The need for coherent strategies and legal pathways

16 February 2023
Video: WZB

ESI's Gerald Knaus was invited to a public debate on migration policy to discuss Ruud Koopmans' latest book "Die Asyl-Lotterie. Eine Bilanz der Flüchtlingspolitik von 2015 bis zum Ukrainekrieg" (The Asylum Lottery. A Review of Refugee Policy from 2015 to the Ukraine War), organised by the Berlin Social Science Center. Koopmans is professor of sociology and migration research at Humboldt University in Berlin and chairman of the board of trustees of the German Centre for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM).

Gerald discussed with Ruud Koopmans and Stephan Thomae, deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag and chairman of the Interior Committee of the German Bundestag.

At the event, Gerald pointed out the EU's glaring lack of a coherent strategy on asylum rights. He said that despite the EU's claim to uphold human rights and international law, it has failed to provide adequate protection and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers, especially those who are stuck in overcrowded camps or unsafe transit countries.

He also criticized the EU's reliance on illegal pushbacks to prevent irregular migration. He argued that this violates the principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits sending people back to countries where they face persecution or serious harm.

Gerald suggested that the EU should instead establish legal pathways for refugees to reach Europe safely and orderly, such as resettlement programs or humanitarian visas. He also advocated for a fair distribution of responsibility among EU member states, based on solidarity and incentives. He said that this would reduce the incentives for irregular migration, improve integration outcomes and restore public trust in the asylum system.

Photo: WZB
Photo: WZB