Europe need not renounce its freedom of movement; it should instead develop a better controlled mobility regime. It would then, in effect, much better control its borders.
There is much about earlier migration crises that today’s European policymakers might profitably recall.
A number of myths surrounding refugee protection may obscure our understanding and complicate the search for solutions but there are also clear and realistic possibilities for change in the EU’s body of law to enable better outcomes for states and for refugees.
There is a persuasive case to be made for simplifying refugee status determination in the European Union at this juncture.
Lesbos, population 85,000, received more than 85,000 refugees and migrants in 2015 up to the end of August.
Creating space for smugglers and failing to provide humanitarian assistance are European failures. Opening legal routes to Europe could deal with both.
While the high number of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe in 2015 has increased pressures and tensions, this is not a crisis beyond the capability of Europe to manage together as a Union. We need bold, collective thinking and action to develop a truly comprehensive approach.
While makeshift camps, such as those that have proliferated around Europe, may form spaces of resourcefulness and agency which cannot be accommodated in state-run detention camps, none of these temporary spaces is a definitive solution.
Border practices at the Italy-Austria border are part of a wider trend of questionable practices used by EU Member States which render irrelevant both the Schengen Agreement and the Dublin Regulation.
Refugees and migrants have been regularly subjected to widespread rights violations by officials at some European borders. The EU needs to allow more legal avenues for people seeking protection to reach Europe safely.
Among those who have reached Melilla, there seems to be no consensus as to whether they see themselves as being in transit in Europe or still in Africa.
Although people are aware of the risks of the sea crossing, nothing can really prepare them for the experience.
If it is to live up to its own values, the EU needs to step up search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean and open up legal means for access to protection in Europe in order to avoid the need for risky journeys across the Mediterranean.
The policy and media gaze focuses on numbers of migrant arrivals and deaths. There are problems in the data for both categories.
Irregular migration by sea is not a solely Mediterranean phenomenon.
There are insufficiently recognised drivers of migration for Afghans and Somalis to Europe, caused by decades of conflict. Although officially listed as ‘post-conflict’, the reality is very different.
Why do Eritreans risk their lives on perilous journeys to Europe? Why don’t they stay in neighbouring countries where they could get safety and protection?
Asylum seekers' stories point to the need for effective protection for refugees and to facilitate greater opportunities to access it, both within Europe and beyond.
For Iraqi refugees in Jordan the decision to leave for Europe is very much influenced by the experience of waiting in the region.
As Europe grapples with the challenges of responding to the arrival of large numbers of migrants, it is vital to keep in mind that the people involved have not left their homes and countries for no reason. Many of them would rather have stayed at home. In a sense, they were forced into migrating.
Despite ‘externalising’ its immigration agenda, the EU has largely failed to develop a coherent and effective overall strategy, to the detriment of migrants and would-be asylum seekers.
The phenomenon of onward movement creates formidable challenges for states, asylum seekers and refugees, and the international protection system as a whole.
The use of readmission agreements has prompted a debate on their compliance with international law, in particular the provisions on protection for refugees and asylum seekers.
Given that we cannot always rescue refugees or economic migrants in danger at the EU’s maritime borders, efforts are needed to reinforce legal channels for migration to Europe and to prevent refugees and migrants being exploited by organised criminal networks.
Calls for the creation of asylum-processing centres outside the EU are being renewed - but significant objections and obstacles remain.
The eagerness of refugees and migrants to leave Greece and travel to other European countries is quite evident.
More than 450,000 people passed through Serbia from the beginning of 2015 until the middle of November. However, even in 2014 the numbers were large, and growing.
Bulgaria has struggled to deal appropriately with mass irregular migration. It has also failed to address integration.
In the context of a large number of arrivals, states may introduce blanket measures aimed at preventing irregular migration. These, however, may curtail the rights of asylum seekers.
A bolder approach is needed if the European Union is to overcome fragmentation and manage refugee movements effectively and in accordance with international obligations. Imaginative moves in this direction could also advance the global refugee protection regime.
Attempts to find an EU-wide solution to asylum may be preventing the finding of workable solutions at the bilateral or national level.
Although asylum seekers and refugees in Europe and in Latin America are very different in terms of numbers, a solution being implemented by Brazil and Ecuador may show the European Union a way forward on sharing the responsibility within a regional bloc.
The cycle of mutual mistrust between EU Member States that prevents solidarity can only be broken if responsibility is assessed fairly on the basis of objective indicators.
People in communities where asylum seekers and refugees have appeared offered various forms of support to the new arrivals as states failed to provide even the essentials.
Apparently, East European countries are less willing to accept refugees than other European countries. Their experience of ethnic and cultural diversity is weak and a genuine welcome has still to be developed.
Failure to employ correct terminology has consequences beyond semantics. More efforts are needed to educate people – especially those whose words are widely disseminated – in the correct use of migration-related terminology.
The recognition rate for Ukrainian asylum seekers in Poland remains at an extremely low level, with the concept of ‘internal flight alternative’ serving as the legal basis for rejection of many asylum applications.
A growing body of EU law, policy and practical measures address the situation of separated and unaccompanied children who arrive in the EU. However, in the current sensitive political climate, there is a risk of attention and resources being diverted from building on progress.
EU law and policy on non-removable irregular immigrants – such as unsuccessful asylum seekers who cannot be returned to their country of origin – have political and humanitarian consequences.
Praise for Australia’s policy of turning away asylum seekers is misguided.
There is new thinking – that European leaders should embrace – on how to promote long-term responses to the Syrian refugee crisis that protect and uphold human dignity, and that constitute more sustainable and beneficial solutions in refugee-receiving states in the West Asia-North Africa region.
We propose a 'matching system' that simultaneously gives refugees some choice over where they seek protection and respects states' priorities over refugees they can accept.
The movement of people is a phenomenon we must learn to live with and to manage as best we can in the interests of all. Among other matters, this will require states dealing with each other on a basis of equity and equality, rather than outmoded and unrealistic expectations of sovereign entitlement.
Since the early 2000s, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization has been implementing economic recovery programmes for returnees in certain post-conflict countries. It remains uncertain, however, to what extent these training programmes have been instrumental in returnees’ economic reintegration.
To accelerate the process of poverty reduction in its poorer regions, China decided in 2001 to implement a national programme of displacement of populations living in areas considered environmentally fragile. But these programmes were hardly a novelty for China, and the record of previous such attempts has been far from positive.
A study of Refugee Status Determination decisions in Albania – a relatively new European country of destination – reveals some shortcomings, despite the country’s efforts to develop its procedures in line with international standards.
Personal contact with refugees helps us not only to see the people behind the need but also to better understand the obstacles they face.
The right to work is important for refugees and asylum seekers – to support themselves, to facilitate local integration and to contribute to the host society. However, they often face obstacles in accessing work in host societies and their experience is frequently characterised by poor working conditions and discriminatory practices.