18—19 November 2015

Workshop: Fortress Europe? Rethinking Asylum Policies and Migration in the Euro-Mediterranean Political Space Policies

Location Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg

Since the extremely ferocious civil war in Syria the influx of refugees towards Europe has increased, forcing the EU and its member states to ultimately cope with the problem. Refugees are thereby however mainly treated as security problem. This is based on a long tradition within Europe (and not only there) of perceiving any form of immigration as a threat, resulting in the securitization of two densely intertwined policy fields, asylum and migration. Although most issues related to migration are of major concern for policy makers on both sides of the Mediterranean, migration in the Euro-Mediterranean political space is mainly looked at through a European lens.

This workshop sets out to overcome this one-sided Western bias in regional asylum and migration studies. Instead of taking Europe’s problems as a starting point, the workshop wants to – symbolically – follow the routes migrants take, starting in sub-Sahara and across the MENA region where we lay the focus on Syria, Tunisia and Morocco before arriving in Europe and here, exemplarily, in Germany and France.

Three interrelating panels will address, amongst other, the following questions: What shapes the life of so called transit migrants and what impact has transit migration on transit-countries? Does the EU’s crisis management framework set an adequate toolset to tackle the problems of mass-migration at its roots? To what extent affect Islamophobia in the countries of destination integration processes?

Participants will be junior and senior academics from the MENA region and Europe. The workshop will be chaired by Dahrendorf Working Group Member Annette Jünemann and hosted at the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg.

The workshop will kick-off with a key note by Olaf Scholz, first mayor of Hamburg, and a public roundtable discussion on “Fortress Europe? Rethinking European and German Migration and Asylum Policies” with input from experts and practitioners (an EU policymaker, a naval commander, a refugee activist).