Migration - Patterns, Effects and Responses in the Western Balkans

Chair: Chiara Steindler (James Madison University)
Migration - Patterns, Effects and Responses in the Western Balkans

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Tuesday, April 24th
9:30 AM

Migration: An opportunity or a Problem? Why and how is Europe Dealing with Migration?!


Meliza QORRAJ, University of Prishtina

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM

This papers main aim is to outline recent migration and integration patterns, together with changing attitudes and policies toward them. It summarizes the main trends, policies, reasons, effects and other important issues related to migration in Europe. Si nce the end of 2014, an unprecedented number of people coming from different counties, most of them facing war, poverty and persecution, have been crossing borders into Europe. The current increase in migration to the Europe is rapidly becoming the largest and most complex facing Europe since the World War II. Today, we can say that migration will shape the future of Europe. With more than 1.2 million people applying for asylum only in 2015 require EU to deal with this situation with responsibility. What is evident is the fact that mass migration will be a permanent challenge not only, but especially in Europe. This current flow of humans escaping their countries is not just a passing crisis or a temporary solution. In order to build “a strong Europe upon the foundations of respect, tolerance and solidarity” states of Europe need to have a clear idea of a democratic value and human right respected policy towards migration. Closing borders will not be a solution, same as opening them and not offering the asylum seekers a dignified life opportunity won’t solve the problem. At the end of the day, we all need to be ready to accept migration, mobility and diversity as the new norm and tailor our policies accordingly.

10:00 AM

The Use of Military Forces in the Protection of the Borders and Prevention of Irregular Migrations–Case Study of selected SEE Countries


Benjamin SADRIĆ, University of Zagreb

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

The 2015 refugee waves to Europe were a humanitarian, legal, moral and logistical crisis. Those circumstances arose ideas to call upon armies to serve at borders. This paper will analyze all elements of the refugee crisis that could legitimate or deny the use of military forces in protection of state borders. More precisely, there are international obligations for governments to protect refugees and to provide security for its citizens. In an age of terrorist threats, roles of the police and military are shifting in an unknown direction, but those international obligations remain the same. The Refugee crisis challenged not only international law, but also EU policies and ethical principles. Possible solutions were to accept all refugees or to close borders, and somewhere in between those solutions army was considered as a tool. Many have emphasized that there is no place for military personnel at state borders with or without the refugee inflow. That is why in this paper it will be examined what are the arguments for that "military ban". Furthermore, after a thorough analysis a comprehensive answer to the legal, moral and logistical legitimacy of army at borders use will be offered. With that conclusion, Hungarian, Slovenian and Croatian legislative will be commented and compared. Specially, having in mind possible future problems that could arise from differences in their legislative linked to migration and refugee inflows that may occur.

10:30 AM

Analyzing Public Opinion: The Citizens Response to the 2015 Migration Crisis in the Balkans


Jessica PARKER, James Madison University

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

The migration crisis of 2015 brought an unprecedented number of migrants to Europe, as they fled from the political, economic, and institutional instability of the Middle East and Northern Africa. European countries have been specifically challenged by this most recent migration crisis due to their geographic location, as well as the unrelenting demands of support and assistance in restarting their lives in a more stable region of the world by hundreds of thousands of migrants. Italy and Greece have been main destinations of migration to Europe, but the entire Southern European region has been involved by the influx of migrants crossing external borders. This paper will analyze how the Balkans region, in particular, has been affected by the migration crisis, and what policies and support has been given to asylum seekers. The cases of Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia have been selected to show the differences in migration support in European Union member states and non-European Union member states in the Balkan region. By specifically looking at public opinion polls concerning migration in these three countries, the paper analyzes the contributing factors of European Union membership, security concerns, and populism to account for the differences in public opinion support for migration within Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia.

11:00 AM

Conditionality Measures in the EU: On Human Rights Violations of Migrants in the Western Balkans


Victoria LEE, James Madison University

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

The European Union (EU) has taken pride in its efforts to defend human rights, prioritizing them through treaties and emphasizing human rights as a requirement for third countries wishing to become EU members. The Lisbon Treaty’s conditions in Article 49 and principles in Article 6(1) highlight the necessity for the guarantee of democracy, rule of law and human rights. In addition, all EU member states have signed the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights. The European enlargement process integrated former Yugoslav countries Slovenia and Croatia, but there has been much concern that the European Union may be disregarding human rights violations towards migrants in the Balkans for the purpose of integration. Presently, the Balkan states with official EU candidate status are Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). There is a specific focus on Serbia and FYROM as they lead the main path of the Western Balkans route to the EU’s Schengen Area. Many human rights organizations have expressed discontent with these countries’ accession processes due to the belief that they have violated the rights of migrants wishing to enter the European Union. The EU identifies itself as a promoter and defender of human rights but should further consider the use of conditionality to influence candidate countries to improve the treatment of migrants in the future.

11:30 AM

An Assessment Of the EU-Turkey Agreement


Sara LEMING, James Madison University

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Since its origin the European Union has championed refugee law and has been a supporter of human rights throughout the world. However, the EU-Turkey Agreement addressing the European migration crisis has sparked a debate with respect to whether the European Union is upholding its commitment to human rights, or symbolically neglecting its responsibility through its 2016 Agreement with Turkey. The migration crisis has undoubtedly torn at the heart of the members of the European Union and has created hostile tensions among member states that question future freedom of movement between states and, on a larger spectrum, the future of the European Union itself. This paper addresses whether or not the EU-Turkey Agreement is an ethical agreement on behalf of the European Union and assesses whether the European Union should reevaluate the Agreement in order to uphold its commitment to human rights. It concludes, based on the Asylum Procedures Directive of the United Nations Refugee Agency, that Turkey cannot be considered a safe third country and the European Union should rethink its partnership in the migration crisis with Turkey.

2:00 PM

Migration, The Role Of South-East Europe


Donika BUNJAKU, University of Prishtina

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Although, as a term, migration is not yet a recognized term of general international law, but rather a notion that derives from different fields of international law, such as refugee law and the law of migrant workers. This paper was written with the object and purpose of presenting the history of migration in Europe, with a special emphasis on South-East Europe (SEE). The evolution of migration, migration crises, as well as the statistic of migration flows for the past years will further be presented in this paper. European states, particularly the measures, cooperation instruments and regional migration policies in South-East Europe will be elaborated.

Furthermore, you will find in this paper the role that SEE countries play in the migration crises that appeared in Europe on the past years, and are still present, as well as International Organizations’ approach, instruments and policies towards the issue of migrants. Statistics, books, international documents or instruments relevant to migration will be presented in this research paper.

2:30 PM

Serbian Development and Economic Migration Patterns


Marisa CAMPANELLA, James Madison University

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Since the end of the Yugoslav war, Serbia has undergone a number of changes in its population, living standards, and relations with other countries. One of those relationships is with the European Union, which Serbia is now a candidate for membership. These changes may have had an impact on emigrant patterns from Serbia since the end of the war. While many of those who left the country were asylum seekers in need of international protection, there was also economic migrants in search of better employment opportunities. The changing conditions in Serbia could have affected citizens’ desire to remain there. This paper will analyze the conditions in Serbia and its status as an EU candidate country at three points in time, 2002, 2011, and 2017. It is hypothesized that in 2002 emigrant patterns would be the highest because of poor societal conditions in areas such as education, employment, and democratic governance. As Serbia progresses through the EU accession criteria, it is expected that emigrant patterns will decrease because of improved societal conditions. This paper seeks to identify and analyze the factors that have influenced these patterns.