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Moritz Jesse gives lecture On Asylum and Migration in Greece

Dr. Moritz Jesse, Associate Professor European Law at the Europa Institute, gave a lecture about Migration and Asylum on Thursday 22 February 2018.

The Lecture bore the title “The Arrival of the ‘Others’ - Europe’s Reaction to the Refugee Crises of 2015” and reflected on what the reaction to the so-called refugee crises of 2015 would say about Europe itself. Jesse stated that the reaction to the refugee crises would show two things: (1) there was a strong political will to find a European reaction. One might legitimately criticize the reaction in its form, shape, and size, however, the alternative in todays’ political reality was not a perfectly measures European solution but an unhinged array of national reactions without any regard for effects on other European partners. As such, one must not underestimate how important a European reaction was. Even Member States opposing the current reaction and the mandatory re-allocation schemes do not argue the need for a EU wide solution, they take issues with the way such solution is shaped. (2) The EU crises as well as its fallout has functioned as a catalyst to eventually lift the differentiation between EU Citizen and non-EU Citizen, i.e. third-country national, to the first and most important differentiation to decide the legal situation of a person within the EU. The legal norms of the EU’s Asylum Acquis were under immense pressure during the crises. However, they held and instead of being abandoned they are being reformed and made more effective. They also function as a judiciable, directly applicable minimum norm in the Member States in addition to international norms of Refugee and Human Rights protection, which are more difficult to rely on for individuals. This will, so the hypothesis defended in the lecture, lead to a consolidation of the EU Citizen v third-country national differentiation over the traditional National Citizen v foreigner dichotomy, also in light of the ever growing EU Acquis on regular immigration of third-country nationals and expanding rights of EU citizens.

The lecture was commented upon by representatives of institutions in charge of refugees in Thessaloniki and the surrounding areas, as well as representatives from the UNHCR and several NGOs working with migrants and asylum seekers in Greece. The comments provided for a lot of context within which the lecture and its abstract hypothesis fitted neatly.

The event took place at the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, and was organized by Prof. Despoina Anagnostopoulou at the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence: EU Constitutional Values Observatory.

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