Migrant crisis strains the E.U., says Emory expert

Sept. 4, 2015


Megan McRainey
Assistant Director of Media Relations


Thomas Lancaster, an expert in European politics and professor of political science at Emory University, is available to comment on the ongoing European migrant crisis and the political climate surrounding this issue in Europe (and how it compares to problems in the U.S.).

 Here are a few thoughts from Dr. Lancaster about recent developments:

  • “The more people that arrive the greater the pressures for social protests and the pushing of political parties to realize there are votes to be found in standing strong against such illegal immigration. Europe is drifting rightward politically as a consequence of this and other forms of immigration, which only serves to solidify the inability to reach solutions through governance.”   
  • “Federations (such as the E.U. and the United States) must coordinate their policy responses and this refugee crisis is more of a potential threat to the EU than has been the Greek financial crisis (because it immediately involves people’s lives). European leaders are facing increasing domestic political pressures, especially from the far right.”   
  • “Eastern members of the E.U. (Poland, etc.) have greatly benefitted from ‘the free movement of people’ within the E.U. but they are also some of the poorest countries and thus find it difficult to take in the refuges. It is hard to ‘restrict’ movement and ‘preserve’ such movement at the same time. This is threatening a fundamental pillar of the E.U. itself.”
  • “The humanitarian cry for help is felt and understood by many, both everyday people as well as political leadership but comes with a mixed feeling given an ‘open invitation’ to those in need runs the risk of only serving as a magnet for more people to try to cross (the U.S.’s southern border as well as the Mediterranean Sea).” 
  • “There is no political agreement amongst the constituent parts of each system (countries in the European Union and states in the United States) as to how to handle the crisis … in large part out of question of who bears the cost and what to do with the people that have entered illegally.”