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Successful 55th Leiden-London Meeting on migration issues and Brexit referendum outcome

On Saturday 25 June 2016, the Europa Institute hosted the 55th Leiden-London Meeting, with the overall title: "EU borders straining at the seams? Legal challenges facing the EU in the area of migration and the refugee crisis". Given the timing, it was inevitable that the most intense discussions were during the last session, which was a panel-led debate on the outcome of the Brexit Referendum.

The main legal analysis of migration-related questions came in the morning sessions. First, Evelien Brouwer (VU Amsterdam University) spoke on “External and internal free movement – strains on Schengen and relationship between external and internal borders”. Then Violeta Moreno Lax (Queen Mary, London) addressed the problems besetting the EU’s asylum system, under the title “Strains on the Dublin system: solidarity based on coercion”. Jorrit Rijpma (Leiden) responded to these two presentations. The last debate before lunch was on “External dimensions to the migration crisis”, presented by Bernard Ryan (Leicester University), during which attention was paid to the ECHR aspects and the EU’s return agreements. Dr Rijpma again took on the role of respondent. In the afternoon, Daniel Thym (University of Konstanz) took a broader look, with a speech on “The ‘refugee crisis’ as a problem of supranational integration through law”. This provided a link to the problem of public perception of the EU, which led to the catastrophic Brexit result. Joanne Hunt (University of Cardiff) joined Bernard Ryan as well as Michael Dougan (University of Liverpool) and Niamh Nic Shuibhne (University of Edinburgh) to form an expert panel providing some first reactions on the referendum outcome. Many of the 60 participants at this international conference joined in the highly informed but also lively, and at times emotional, debate.

The event was organized by Alison McDonnell, with the help of Pauline Vincenten.
Thanks also go to professor Sir David Edward, Stefaan Van den Bogaert and Jean Pierre Gauci for chairing sessions.

Professor Margot Horspool, British Institute for International and Comparative Law, invited all those present to the 56th London-Leiden meeting to be held in 2017 in London – regardless of political developments.

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