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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

In the first phase of our migration in Europe debate, Theo Veenkamp and his Demos colleagues launched the People Flow prototype offering a new way of thinking about how Europe could use people’s movement for the benefit both of migrants and of the societies that receive them. This provoked a wide range of responses from many of the key contestants in the migration debate today: restrictionists, such as Anthony Browne and Peter Brimelow; open border advocates like Nigel Harris and Franck Duvell, multiculturalists such as Cem Ozdemir or Ali Rattansi; those looking for a national solution, like Martin Kovats, a European solution, like Ash Amin, or a global solution, like Arthur Helton; those like Tony Curzon Price who say that asylum is in crisis and those, like Gil Loescher, who say it is not. Veenkamp wraps up part 1 with an invitation to take the arguments even further.

Phase two – the Challenge to People Flow – tackles one of the thorniest obstacles for any Europe-wide advance – the debates within the nation states, where politicians often face head on a growing desire for national boundary control. We start with Britain. Our roundtable – an edited extract from an event sponsored by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) at this year’s Labour Party conference – features Home Secretary David Blunkett – the architect of the UK’s controversial migration polices, in dialogue with economist Bob Rowthorn and the chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips. Ben Page from Mori provides a snapshot of British public opinion on this hot button political issue.

Dirk Jacobs, analysing the rise of the Arab European League, detects a similar policy quagmire in the Belgian response, while Liza Schuster, in an overview of European approaches to asylum, urges the People Flow authors to hold European governments to proper account.

Also: Ulf Hedetoft’s superb overview of the Danish debate.

Turkey and refugee rights: the missing link

Europe's deal with Turkey to solve its refugee crisis has little regard for the status of families like those of Hassan Ayo, a human rights activist from the Syrian border town of Ras-al-Ain, near Kobani.

Migration: beyond "what people think"

A skewed debate on immigration has lost touch with reality and become fuel for fear, anxiety and prejudice. Never have reasoned argument and evidence been more needed.

Securitisation not the response to deaths at sea

The European Union has responded to the humanitarian crisis presented by refugee deaths in the Mediterranean—but only through the lens of border control.

Crisis in the Mediterranean: Europe must change course

As leaders of European Union member states prepare to meet to discuss the Mediterranean refugee crisis, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights sets the bar for an adequate response.

What the EU must do now to halt this tragedy on its shores

There are answers to the Mediterranean migrant-deaths crisis. They just require the European Union, whose foreign ministers met yesterday, to grasp the political nettle.

Lampedusa: Never again

The terrible migrant deaths off the Italian island have evoked horror across the continent. In a small camp in France, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi talks to fellow countrymen and women who have survived: their hopes, dreams, and learning to feel unwelcome in Europe.

Europe's war on migrants

The unending series of mass drownings in the Mediterranean of migrants and refugees are not unfortunate tragedies: they are the dread outworking of the occluding of humanitarian concern by the rhetoric of border control.

The new Sangatte: rights pushed out of sight

In the context of escalating police violence and local racism, the new day centre for migrants in Calais, France is an example of increased, anti-migrant state control posing as humanitarian assistance. 

Migrants in the Mediterranean: mourning deaths, not saving lives

For as long as the humanitarian impulse to rescue the desperate and the destitute is trumped by Europe’s focus on border control, the death toll will rise inexorably.

Scapegoats for an insecure Europe

The crisis facing Europe could be perceived as a product of conflicting class interests in what Keynes called the capitalism of the casino. All the more important that it should instead be blamed on conveniently stigmatised Others.

Eastern Ukraine: the humanity behind the headlines

The government in Kyiv, aid organisations and the international community must work together to address the humanitarian crisis created by the fighting in the east.

The European Kurds rallying to fight IS

With Kurds in Iraq and Syria under attack from the Islamic State, many young Kurds in Europe have been joining resistance forces—a trend occluded by the media focus on European-born jihadists.

Immigration detention: a most un-British phenomenon

Strict prohibitions against arbitrary detention are a central element in any system that celebrates liberty. It is time to learn the lessons of history and extend this right to migrants. 

The poverty of European migration policy

Policy on migration in Europe bears more relationship to ideology than evidence. And humanity is sorely lacking.

A year after Lampedusa: what has changed?

Twelve months ago, Europe’s conscience was pricked by the sight of the bodies of hundreds of migrants shipwrecked at Lampedusa. But the continued stigmatisation and criminalisation of migrants has allowed securitisation to prevail over protection.

Libya: the migrant trap

The discovery by the Italian navy of 30 bodies in a fishing boat at the weekend highlights the deadly trail of migrants from north Africa—for whom a chaotic Libya represent another hazardous transit point.

Tip of the iceberg: European migration policy in Greece and the Euro-elections

Many people will be affected by the results of the Euro-elections in Greece and across the continent—including those fetching up at its borders.

Not polished enough! Have Swedes had enough of the far right?

In an increasingly unequal Sweden, the far right has been able to capitalise on growing insecurity for its xenophobic ends—but it faces strong public resistance as Swedes go to the Euro-polls

Syrian refugees in Turkey: defusing the powder-keg

In sharp contrast to wider Europe, Turkey has taken in many refugees from the Syrian civil war—but its hospitality is starting to excite social frictions and sectarian tensions

No limits to brutality: deaths at the Greece-Turkey borders

People who fetch up at the borders between Greece and Turkey are treated as if they were less than human, in unaccountable operations for which the European Union must take responsibility.

Racism: troubling truths

Fighting racism in Europe is not easy when Europe has two hands tied behind its back—debilitated by neo-liberal policies on the one hand and the securitisation of minorities on the other.

Undocumented migrants: time to change the European discourse

Most undocumented migrants in Europe are not products of irregular entry and humanitarian crises such as that at Lampedusa are not unavoidable tragedies. As the EU starts work on a new programme on migration it must shift approach from control and surveillance.

Syria's refugees: international effort needed

An Amnesty International report has highlighted the huge gap between the Syrian refugee crisis and the global response. Fortress Europe needs to discover an ethos of hospitality

Stateless in the UK: amid the chaos, a groundbreaking step forward

New immigration rules in the UK designed to help stateless people come into force at a time when legal aid has been removed from nearly all immigration cases. How far will those who are stranded in the UK have a chance to rebuild their lives?

The trouble with Fortress Europe

To prevent illegal immigration, the EU has built a set of far-reaching border control and enforcement policies. But it doesn't work: today's 'Fortress Europe' is an inefficient, immoral and costly bureaucratic construction that should be urgently reformed.

The Roma rights dilemma of the French left

On the Roma issue, the French left must choose: whether to align itself with the forces of progress to combat anti-Roma racism and exclusion; or persist with evictions and expulsions, and find itself bedded down with Europe’s forces of reactionary populism.

Death at the global frontier

More than 16,000 people have died at the borders of Europe since 1993, but who is responsible? Leanne Weber explores death by policy and the culpable state, and argues that is only when the equal value of all lives is accepted as a fundamental human value that real limits will be placed on the means by which states express their sovereignty

Tribunal 12: migrants’ rights abuses in Europe

45 years on, the International War Crimes Tribunal set up by Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre is being used to address abuses of migrants’ rights in Europe. It is time to inject solidarity and accountability into the European migration regime, Jennifer Allsopp reports from Stockholm on Tribunal 12

Why can’t we have that? ‘Global civil disobedience’ and the European living laboratory

In a response to Daniele Archibugi and Patti Tamara Lenard, the author argues that unauthorized immigrants should be seen as offering a powerful normative challenge to the vast disparities in life chances that are the norm in the current global system. Rather than advocating the open borders approach rejected by both Archibugi and Lenard, however, he argues for more gradual transformations involving deeper, democratically accountable integration between states.

The UK continues to detain children, a year after the Coalition's pledge to end it

A year ago, the Coalition pledged to end the practice of child detention in the UK. Yet the real agenda of the UK Border Agency has not changed. The detention and enforced removal of children remains a key aspect of immigration control. Can the government be pressured into honouring their promise?

Open borders, global future

The worldwide movement of people across borders demands imaginative and radical new thinking on migration, says Brian K Murphy.

Chinese migrant workers: lives in shadow

The unregulated work of Chinese immigrants on the margins of a rich western society puts them in a trap with many locked doors, finds Hsiao-Hung Pai.

Sudanese adrift in Israel

A stream of asylum-seekers fleeing conflict in Sudan presents Israel with a dilemma that Europe has failed to solve, says Caroline Moorehead.

Identity and immigration

Whatever their backgrounds, newcomers to Britain have more in common than they might think. Linda Grant reflects on family history and real-life experiences.

The Euro-African migration conference: Africa sells out to Europe

The Rabat gathering’s "plan of action" to control migration flows from south to north is based on a faulty diagnosis and will not succeed even in its own terms, says Gregor Noll.
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