20. Nov 2020
 —  CET
Welcome+Panel

Five Years after: The European Refugee Crisis and the Political Response

  • Francisco Gaztelu-Mezquiriz
  • Karl Kopp
  • Martin Rentsch
  • Gesine Schwan
  • Ulrich Weinbrenner
  • Sabine Hess
  • Veronica Federico

The events in 2015 when more than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe have created deep divisions among the member states and have foregrounded massive disagreements on how to govern migration and integration within the European Union (EU). What since then has been labelled as the “European refugee crisis” is affecting the European public and politics until today.

The panel brings together researchers, politicians and practitioners to discuss in retrospect how the various actors at the EU and national level have reacted in terms of adaptations of border controls, migration policies and asylum systems. They also look at the state of policy-making today, both on best practices since 2015 and on still pressing unresolved questions and problems. For only recently has the EU commission issued its New Pact on Migration and Asylum. Instead of bringing a major breakthrough many scholars have criticized that the pact cements a radical departure from fundamental European values and principles of internationally anchored refugee protection. Is the EU failing over the migration issue?


    Speakers

  • Panelist

    Francisco Gaztelu Mezquiriz is an engineer and a microeconomist. He currently serves as the Head of the Irregular Migration and Return Policy Unit at DG Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission. His previous posts include Head of Unit for MFF, Budget and Agencies, Assistant to the Director General of Asia Pacific, Deputy Head of Unit of the Middle East and Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Vice president for the internal market, defence and space.

  • Panelist

    Karl Kopp is Director of European Affairs of PRO ASYL. He represents PRO ASYL in the European Council on Refugees and Exiles and is responsible for media relations in the European context and for PRO ASYL’s Europe-wide connections with human rights and refugee organisations.

  • Panelist

    Martin Rentsch is as a spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency in Germany. He has been with the organisation for six years and joined during the peak of the European refugee situation. Before, he worked in the public affairs section of the US Diplomatic Mission to Germany and as a campaigner for Oxfam. He holds a degree in Communication and Political Science of Dresden Technical University.

  • Panelist

    Gesine Schwan is co-founder, shareholder and president of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform where she leads the area of the Trialogs. Trialogs organize a process of understanding between stakeholders from the public sector, the business sector, organized civil society and academia, in order to find widely acceptable solutions to societal challenges oriented towards the common good. Her previous posts include Professor and Dean at the Department of Political Science, Free University Berlin and Presidency of the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder). She is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany and and since 2014 Gesine Schwan has been the chairman of the SPD’s foundation committee. She was nominated twice as candidate for the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Germany.

  • Panelist

    Ulrich Weinbrenner, Head of the Directorate-General for Migration, Refugees and Return Policy at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, Germany. Born in 1964, joined the Federal Ministry of the Interior in 1992 after having studied Law and Administrative Sciences in Mainz and Speyer. After working at the European Commission in Brussels from 1995 to 1997, he was involved in migration and security issues at the Federal Ministry of the Interior in various capacities, including as Personal Assistant to State Secretaries Diwell and Dr. Hanning between 2004 and 2007. Since 2007, he has headed various units in the Public Security Department and the project group on data protection law reform in Germany and Europe between October 2014 and January 2016. From 1 February 2016 - 30 April 2018, he headed the staff unit "Social Cohesion and Integration". Since 02 May 2018 he is Head of the Directorate-General for Migration, Refugees and Return Policy.

  • Chair

    Sabine Hess is the German team’s P.I. for the RESPOND research on border management and migration control. She is a full professor of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology at the University of Göttingen since 2011. She specializes in migration and border studies focusing on forms of transnationalisation and Europeanisation with a specific interest in the external border region in South-Eastern Europe. She is a founding member of the European interdisciplinary “Network on critical migration and border studies” (kritnet) and of the editorial board of “movements. Journal on Critical Border and Migration Regime Studies.”

  • Chair

    Veronica Federico is the Italian team’s P.I. for the RESPOND research. She is Professor of Comparative Public Law at the University of Florence. Principal investigator for the University of Florence in the following EU funded Horizon 2020 projects: TransSOL, on transnational solidarity; SIRIUS, on refugees, asylum seekers and migrants’ integration in European labour markets; and D.RAD, on radicalization and de-radicalisation processes. Her research interests include: Migration studies; African studies; African Comparative Constitutional Law; Fundamental and Human rights; Constitutional and Democratic Transitions.