Europe at a crossroads : the EU migration crisis, a governance test for the future of the Union
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In the context of the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, the European Union has to cope with unprecedented numbers of arrivals at its external borders. In light of the weekly shipwrecks and drownings in the Mediterranean, European states decided to develop a common approach to the crisis, as they realised the upcoming months and years would be characterized by massive migration flows to the continent. This thesis investigates the EU’s response to the migration crisis focusing on migration as a policy area, especially with regards to border management and control. After critically assessing the human rights impact of the policies implemented since 2016, this research will explore the concerns this crisis has raised regarding European unity and ability to answer to external threats in a common and cooperative manner. It will argue that this crisis is a governance test for a European Union that finds itself facing historically unprecedented challenges, sixty years after its creation. This thesis will claim that the current EU approach reflects a rift between member states towards security and human rights standards, a sign of a deeply rooted political and ideological divide regarding transfer of sovereignty in the field of migration control. To overcome the crisis, this research will assert that the EU needs to find a balance between its moral and legal obligations and its duty to ensure the safety of its citizens and the securing of its external borders. It will provide recommendations regarding the need for a genuine holistic approach, one that bridges security and human rights concerns. Keywords: European Union, migration governance, border control, human rights, sovereignty, Mediterranean.