“Historical Framework of migration and refugee flows to the EU” 6/11/2017

On November 6, 2017, the 2nd session of the seminar entitled “Historical Framework of Migration & Refugee Flows to the EU” took place at the Delegation of the European Commission in Athens. 

Ms. Angeliki Dimitriadi, ELIAMEP Researcher and Migration Specialist “Greece, with one foot in European policies and one foot out, has a pilot role in the new EU policy on how hot spots can act as both points of arrival and concentration, as well as points of concentration and expulsion of immigrants». 

As Ms Dimitriadi explained, European immigration policy is described on the basis of three axes, namely “deterring” the entry of irregular migrants, “arresting and detaining” and “returning”. These axes are incorporated in the context of migration security and the EU’s foreign policy with third countries. For the EU, strong external borders act as an embankment for migratory flows. 

Describing the historical context in the EU, the researcher said that up to 2011, migration was not a priority for the EU, as there was a high demand for labor hands and an ostrich approach to the issue from the Member States. While in 2015 we have a European change of focus on managing refugee flows, human trafficking and enhancing external flows. We see an aggressive EU policy aimed at halting immigration flows.

The next speaker Mr. Angelos Tramountanis, Researcher at the National Centre of Research, talked about the interconnection of migration and security, which includes not only military, economic and political aspects, but also social and environmental security, according to the Copenhagen School. 

He then related the new forms of security in tackling the migration issues with the concept of ‘securitization’ and its role in the development and implementation of the various immigration policies. Referring, in particular, to the case of Greece, he said that the construction of migration as a security issue that prioritized solutions based on the logic of securitizing, as well as the role of the media and political parties in this direction, ultimately worked negatively to the central objective of migration policy, that is, the reduction of migration flows and irregular migration. 

Finally, referring to the historical context of Greek immigration policy, he outlined the legislative framework and legalization programs of the 1990s, which emphasized mainly on the restriction of immigration and the prevention of entry and residence of immigrants. Since the 2000s, the emphasis has been on integration, with the development of a Common European Asylum System as well.

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