Vienna – ESI at the Politische Akademie: The reality of managing migration in Europe

1 March 2024
Springer Schlossl, Vienna
Springr Schlossl, Vienna. Photo: Ricardalovesmonuments/Wikimedia

ESI’S Gerald Knaus was invited by the Politische Akademie in Vienna to take part in their speaker briefing ‘Europa Matinee’. The event aimed to explore current issues Europe is facing and how Europe has overcome similar challenges before. Gerald delivered a presentation on ‘Migration in times of polarization’.

Gerald’s presentation tackled rising panic across Europe about migration and asylum, contrasting myths versus facts, examining various migration pressures, causes of flight, and the impact of migration policies grounded in fear and violence. He highlighted that while there has been a global increase in displacement, the fears stirred by the far-right of a mass invasion of Europe are detached from reality. He noted that the vast majority of refugees in Europe in recent years are from European conflicts, namely Ukraine, and that the amount of trans-national refugee movement in past years has been vastly eclipsed by internal migration.

Instead of panic and fear, which has led to a surge for the far-right and a breakdown of the rule of law on Europe’s external borders, Europe needs an effective, humane system of migration management. Gerald then explored the complexities of deportation and third-country agreements as methods of migration control. Gerald concluded with a call for humane control mechanisms that aim for zero deaths, suggesting legal pathways and cooperative efforts as solutions.

The presentation was followed by a discussion moderated by president of the Politische Akademie and member of the Austrian National Council, Bettina Rausch Amon.