Geographer and diplomat Michel Foucher, member of the Robert Schuman Foundation's Scientific Committee, provides his thoughts on the return of the borders in a neighbourhood in crisis in this week's European Interview, he also comments the trend within the European Union itself whilst geopolitical dangers are on the rise.
The migratory crisis that the European Union is experiencing right now has brought to light serious weaknesses in the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), which aims to define the Member State responsible for the assessment of an asylum request , to establish common procedures and reception rules for asylum seekers and to distinguish between those who really need international protection from economic migrants . In answer to this challenge and in the wake of emergency measures, the European Commission has already put forward and will present proposals for the structural reform of this system in the next few days thereby aiming to make it "more human" and more effective.
Following the referendum on its EU membership, the UK has brusquely leapt into the unknown. The vote in favour of leaving the EU will probably entail protracted negotiations over the terms of the separation and of the UK's future relations with the European Union. In this context, a rationalisation and clarification of various levels of integration is needed, in particular regarding the relations between the "two Europes", i.e. the euro zone and the single market.
Following the decision taken by the Britons on June 23 to leave the European Union, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, in an editorial published on his site, called European leaders to provide practical, robust and tangible answers to the fears and concerns. They require a strategic vision, a newfound political will and a new courage.
On 26th June the People's Party -PP- led by Mariano Rajoy came out ahead on the parliamentary elections in Spain with 137 MPs (+14) and 33% of the vote. It drew ahead of the Socialist Party (PSOE) which came second with 85 seats and 22.66% of the vote (-5), the radical left-wing coalition Unidos Podemos, 21.76% and 71 seats (=) and Ciudadanos, 13% and 32 seats (-8). Therefore the absolute majority of 176 out of 350 in the lower chamber was not achieved and the head of State since 2011 must again negotiate the terms of an alliance that will enable him to remain in power
On 23rd June Britons decided to leave the European Union. To the question they were asked (Should the UK remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? a majority of voters (51.9%) answered "leave" whilst 48.1% voted to remain. Turnout totalled 72.2%
British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to organise a referendum in 2017 on the issue of the UK's place in the EU: "Do you think that the UK should remain in the European Union or leave the European Union?" The question of the UK's status within the European Union is one of the issues at stake in the latter's development. The Robert Schuman Foundation offers its readers an information file on the main questions set by the referendum as well as the options open to the UK if it leaves the EU.
On 31st May, the Foundation organised a debate in Paris with Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.
For a better understanding of the challenges facing Europeans today: the refugee question, immigration, euro area reform, investment, growth, employment, taxation, the danger of a "Brexit", populism, energy transition, but also the new strategic context in the southern Mediterranean and in the East of the continent and terrorism. Never has Europe faced so many questions. The most eminent personalities and the best experts have chosen to contribute to the "Schuman Report 2016 on the State of the Union" now on sale in bookshops and on the Foundation's site in paper and digital form.
The repeated drownings in the Mediterranean have led to an emergency situation regarding the European migratory question. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 1,750 migrants perished in the Mediterranean between January and April 2015, ie more than 30 times the figure in the same period in 2014. Given these repeated catastrophes an extraordinary European Council was organised on 23rd April and ten new measures were put forward on 20th April by the European Commission including stepping up surveillance operations and rescue at sea. The Robert Schuman Foundation is offering its readers an information file on the theme of immigration, that brings together its publications on this issue in order to review the development of these events in Europe.