Kufstein – Night Talk: ESI presentation on reimagining refugee policies

15 February 2024
Kufstein Audience
Kufstein Audience. Photo: ESI

ESI’s Gerald Knaus was invited by city of Kufstein, in the Tyrolean Alps, to give a presentation at one of Kufstein’s regular ‘Nachtgespräche’ – or ‘Night Talks’. In the Nachtgespräche, Kufstein invites selected experts to speak on current topics and discuss the resulting questions directly with the audience.

In his presentation – titled ‘Wir und die Flüchtlinge’, or the ‘The refugees and us’ – Gerald demonstrated the extent to which perception and reality diverge when it comes to refugees and migration in Europe. He discussed the failings of the status-quo on migration in Europe. In particular, he noted that refugees’ rights are being violated daily at the EU’s external borders, including illegal abuses such as pushbacks and beatings, resulting in deaths and a breakdown in the rule-of-law.

Gerald then sought to convey that, amidst the rise of the populist far-right across Europe, a functional strategy for humane border control is not only possible, but necessary. He proposed implementing specific cut-off dates, offering credible options for legal mobility, and establishing asylum procedures in safe third countries. Implementing these policies would be a paradigm shift in EU migration policy. The effect would be to reduce deaths in the Mediterranean, undermine smugglers’ business model, lower the number of irregular arrivals and increase the volume of controlled, legal migration into Europe. Such a policy would be beneficial for Europe, international law, and migrants themselves.

After giving his presentation, Gerald continued the discussion on migration and other relevant issues with the mayor of Kufstein, Martin Krumschnabel.

Festung Kufstein
Festung Kufstein. Photo: ESI