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The European Union migration crisis.

Borg-Barthet, Justin; Lyons, Carole


Justin Borg-Barthet


On 9 September 2010 the body of a man who had fallen from a British Airways flight to Heathrow was discovered in a wealthy west-London suburb. It is hard to pinpoint any one precise origin of the migration crisis currently unfolding in Europe, but the migrant who fell from the sky in his extreme efforts to enter a Europe otherwise closed to him was to foreshadow something on a much larger scale which has shaken European integration to its very core. The mass movement of more than a million refugees and migrants (many fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq) into European countries during 2015, the migration crisis so called, has generated an extreme level of disruption and disunity in the European Union and its member states as they strive to deal with the arrivals. But the crisis is, first and foremost, a humanitarian catastrophe of a kind unseen in Europe since the 1930s and 40s. Images from Lesbos and Lampedusa, among others, bear witness to the magnitude of the human cost of the crisis, which is still growing at an alarming rate at the time of writing. This note argues that the humanitarian crisis points to more deep-seated and long-standing problems in the governance of the European Union. As the EU and its member states struggle with the pressures of mass movement of displaced people, the treatment of those people exposes what can only be described as a crisis of European values. It is, in many ways, a stark expos{acute}e of shortcomings in the application of European fundamental rights, humanitarian law, and neighbourhood policy.


BORG-BARTHET, J. and LYONS, C. 2016. The European Union migration crisis. Edinburgh law review [online], 20(2), pages 230-235. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 9, 2016
Online Publication Date Apr 30, 2016
Publication Date May 31, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 27, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 27, 2018
Journal Edinburgh Law Review
Print ISSN 1364-9809
Electronic ISSN 1755-1692
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 2
Pages 230-235
Keywords Migration; European Union; Mass movement; Refugees; Human rights
Public URL


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