Meißen – ESI at winter academy: Europe under pressure

22 February 2023
Photo: ESI
Photo: ESI

ESI's Gerald Knaus was invited to a panel discussion on migration policy, organized by the State Office for Schools and Education for teachers in Saxony. Gerald debated with Stephan Lorenz from the University of Leipzig, Kaan Celebi from TU Chemnitz, and Markus Tiedemann from TU Dresden, who moderated. He also discussed with a group of teachers.

Gerald analyzed the current crisis of refugee protection in Europe and worldwide, proposing a solution to the downward spiral. He argued that the core of the Geneva Refugee Convention the non-refoulement principle is increasingly being violated, even by democratic countries like Australia, the USA, or EU member states such as Greece, Croatia, or Poland. These countries practice so-called pushbacks, i.e. the forcible rejection of refugees at the borders without granting them a fair asylum procedure. This not only violates national and international legal norms, but also endangers the rule of law and democracy in Europe. Gerald emphasized that when laws and conventions are openly disregarded and denied, this cannot remain without an impact on democracy itself.

He argued that the only way to combine humane borders and the control of irregular migration is through the orderly admission of those in need of protection. This requires the EU to enter into agreements with third countries such as Turkey or Tunisia, ensuring that these countries respect the human rights of refugees and take back rejected asylum seekers. In return, the EU would commit to offering legal migration schemes. Such a policy can gain majority support if it is transparent, credible, and based on solidarity-based burden-sharing between the EU member states.