22 November 2018
Zagreb – ESI at conference on security challenges for Europe

ESI's senior analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer was one of the speakers at an conference on security challenges for Europe in Zagreb, Croatia, discussing the challenge of irregular migration to the EU. She outlined the inadequacy of current EU migration and asylum policies and proposed a new approach that would be spearheaded by a voluntary coalition of EU member states. The conference was organised by RACVIAC, the Centre for Security Cooperation in South-East Europe, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Croatia and the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) Zagreb.

Alexandra suggested that the coalition sets up a joint reception and asylum application centre in Spain, which has seen increased levels of irregular sea arrivals this and last year. In this centre, most asylum claims should be resolved in quick, but thorough procedures within two months; those who qualify for asylum should be relocated to the other participating member states; and those whose claims are rejected should be returned home directly from Spain, in a joint operation. She said the coalition could negotiate take-back agreements with the main countries of origin, applying only to new arrivals and offering the partner countries real incentives including legal access to work and study.

Alexandra also mentioned the urgent need to improve the implementation of the EU-Turkey refugee agreement in Greece. She said the reception conditions on Greek islands were still inacceptable, more than two-and-a-half years after the agreement was concluded, and that the Greek government has still not set up a sufficient number of appeals committees so that only few asylum procedures are ever completed. As a result, only few people are returned to Turkey or to their home countries, which encourages other migrants and refugees to cross over to Greece, risking their lives.

Alexandra shared her panel with Prof. Murat Erdogan from the Turkish-German University in Istanbul and Filip Dragovic, an independent expert on migration. It was moderated by Senada Selo-Sabic.