Hostile Actors and Migration: Responding to Weaponised Population Flows

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Orchestrating migration pressure has long been used as an instrument to pursue hostile intentions by a variety of actors. The events organised by Türkiye in early 2020, by Morocco in May 2021, and the Lukashenka regime in Belarus in 2021 are notable examples of such pressure exerted on the EU. When faced with these pressures, the member states affected—Greece, Spain, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia respectively—responded in ways which frustrated the antagonistic intentions of their geographical neighbours while also drawing criticism for allegedly ignoring EU law. With a specific reference to the events on the EU border with Belarus, the European Commission therefore submitted a legislative proposal to introduce derogations from the usual asylum rules. These derogations would increase the flexibility of an affected member state in handling asylum applications, including by allowing longer registration periods and faster decisions on the admissibility and substance of all applications.

Many questions remain. How should we assess the success of the EU in facing up to the recent incidents in which migration has been weaponised? Could the current departure of migrants from the Tunisian coast be categorised as instrumentalisation? What would be the added value of EU legislation on the instrumentalisation of migration by hostile actors? Is there potentially merit in leaving the response of the affected frontline member state—and by extension the EU response—uncodified and thus unpredictable? In these situations, can the EU justify a weakening of the link between a (migrating) person and his or her rights?

Renaissance Hotel, Rue du Parnasse 19, 1050 Brussels 14:00-15:00

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