How European asylum policy altered the national public opinion and why we have to be aware of it

Migration is not a new phenomenon. It has always been a very current issue around the world. It is either voluntary, to improve one’s socio-economic status, or it could be forced migration – initiated by governments, religious/political groups, or other actors. As the migration crisis in 2015 was mainly placed in the EU, I argue that migration doesn’t only affect the European Union and its policies, and the governments in general, but especially the people and their issues – mostly in a severe way. That implies that migration is seen as a European issue, but the consequences are seen mostly on a national level and five years later, they are still present in shapes of right-wing populist parties in governments.

Tim Hatton, Professor at the University of Essex, UK, published a research paper with the title ‘European asylum policy before and after the migration crisis’ where he monitors his findings about the differences in European policies before and after the migration crisis in 2015. He argues that the crisis was a huge turning point for the reform of the EU’s policies because it initiated new policy fields. That is for example new agencies to relocate asylum seekers directly from the origin regions or to strengthen border controls to resettle migrants and redistribute them controllably, which is an important humanitarian aspect.

On the other way around, huge issues arouse on the national level. The people started to criticize the European Union but projected these thoughts on the national governments. The states still suffer under a far-right populist infusion, which caused a massive agenda shifting and strengthened the phenomenon of Euroscepticism and anti-migration. The paneuropean society still couldn’t recover from these attitudes towards migrants which also kicked off Brexit and lead to disintegration for migrants. 

To review: it is important to understand how politics on the European level can affect national policies. We have to be aware of this issue because refuge can affect everyone and will not end abruptly. With the right policies, right-wing populism can and should be limited. Wake up, it’s 2021.

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