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Migration and the Future of European Identity

The speakers discussed the challenges of migration and its implications for European security and they all agreed that the issue of migration has been widely abused, primarily by politicians.

The paradox of migration is that many countries are closing borders to protect their economies but, at the same time, they are creating numerous costly procedures to deal with the issue of illegal immigration. The solution might be to open up, and to realise that migration actually is not a problem, but a challenge that needs to be dealt with in an adequate way. The main foci of the discussion were Greece and Serbia. Illegal immigration is one of the burning issues in Greece and all political parties are concerned with it.

However, Greece has failed to develop appropriate migration policies and institutions – large populations of immigrants live in extreme poverty and public discourse is imbued with racist narratives, even when it comes to leftist political parties such as PASOK. Serbia is not attractive for regular economic migrants, but it is a transit country and the number of asylum seekers is increasing. The Serbian asylum system does not function well and the political will to improve it is still lacking. At the same time, the EU is pressuring Serbia to prevent people from leaving the country, which is contrary to international human rights standards. The discussants agreed that the EU should change this position, while Serbia needs to raise the issue of migration to a higher level.