Several, partly interconnected crises have profoundly challenged the European project in recent years. In particular, reactions to the arrival of 1.25 million refugees in 2015 challenged the idea of a united Europe that guarantees the rights of refugees and implements norms and values that many see as part of the acquis communautaire. Did the so-called migration and refugee crisis have a lasting impact on the normative foundations and values of the EU? And if so, what does this mean for its future?
From 2018 to 2021, the project Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis (NoVaMigra) examined these questions. The Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Treaty of Lisbon declare the “universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, liberty, democracy, equality and the rule of law” to be the foundation of the European Union – but can we still say that these values form its common basis? NoVaMigra concluded that recent European experience with forced migration has not led to a change in values. However, the fact that there has been no change in values does not mean that one can continue to assume an unproblematic common foundation of values in the EU. What became clear in the context of the so-called refugee crisis were already existing differences in the understanding of values between the member states of the EU, but also between the relevant actors in the field of migration within the respective countries. NoVaMigra’s research was divided into three steps:
- (1) NoVaMigra developed a comprehensive understanding of the values found in key EU legal documents and examined whether these have changed as a result of the so-called refugee crisis.
- (2) NoVaMigra analyzed which values are brought to bear in political and social migration and integration contexts and whether or how they have changed as a result of the arrival of refugees in Europe over the past decade.
- (3) Finally, against the background of this empirical research and with a view to existing normative models of cosmopolitan order, NoVaMigra elaborated perspectives for the future development of the European Union.
NoVaMigra has summarized its main findings and recommendations in a comprehensive final report, which can be downloaded below. The report reconstructs what Europe’s core values are and how they relate to migration. Against this background, it analyzes whether and how these values have changed in the wake of the 2015 “refugee crisis.” Based on this, the report develops key normative principles for the future of EU migration policy.
Read more on NoVaMigra’s key findings and NoVaMigra’s policy recommendations on our website, where you will also find its single studies and publications including policy briefs, reports on events, and a blog with important contributions to the debate on European refugee and migration policy.
NoVaMigra Final Report