Vienna – ESI at debate on Ideas for Europe

28 February 2022
Video: BSA


ESI’s Gerald Knaus was invited to give a presentation on Europe and the enemies of the rule of law at a debate on “Ideas for Europe – What’s next for the European Union?”. The debate was organised by the Federation of Social Democratic Academics (Bund Sozialdemokratischer Akademiker) in Vienna, Austria.

In his presentation, Gerald spoke about the fragile state of the rule of law at the EU’s borders, referring to the migrant crisis caused by Belarus at its borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, where the government in Minsk used migrants to destabilise the EU and test its values and humanitarian response. Gerald also highlighted how pushbacks at the EU’s external borders have become a common and accepted practice.

To reverse this trend, Gerald called for humane solutions, especially with current war in Ukraine, where the EU has to keep its borders open for the Ukrainian refugees. He then argued that closing the EU’s borders should not be the solution to stop irregular migration, this is how pushbacks and inhumane policies become accepted. Gerald added that to reduce irregular migration, safe partner countries must be found to transfer migrants, but incentives must be given to these countries, so that they can establish close cooperation and avoid more deaths and inhumane treatment when migrants make their way to the EU.

Other participants were Elodie Arpa (Youth Ambassador of Austria to the Council of Europe), Teresa Eder (Journalist, Program Associate for the Global Europe Program at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C), and Gerhard Mangott (Political Scientist, Professor of Political Science at the University of Innsbruck). The debate was moderated by Matthias Vavra.