The Lasting Impact of the 2015 Migration Crisis
Czech Republic was also one of the countries to close its borders during the migration crisis. However, during the war in Ukraine, the Czech Republic widely opened its arms and supported the refugees.
In 2015, Europe experienced a mass migration, with over one million people crossing its borders in search of a better life. However, this journey was not easy for most refugees, as it involved significant risks and an uncertain future. According to the BBC, thousands of people have died attempting to reach the shores of countries.
The unexpected surge in migrants sparked a humanitarian and political crisis throughout Europe, which has struggled to respond. Frontline states, such as Greece and Italy, have been overwhelmed by the asymmetric burden of the migration crisis. In these areas, it feels like Europe is under siege, as reported by the Institute for National Security Studies.
While some countries welcomed refugees with open arms, others built fences and closed their borders. So, what is the current situation, and is there any lasting impact of mass migration felt across Europe today?
From Closed Borders to Open Arms: Poland's Changing Stance on Immigration
Poland was one of the states in the European Union that closed its borders during the mass migration crisis in 2015 based on two primary principles: equating refugees with terrorists and prioritizing the country's security. Technical security measures, such as building fences and adopting additional instruments, were implemented to discourage migrants from entering or encourage them to leave. This created obstacles for refugees to enter, refused international protection, and made integration difficult or impossible.
Interestingly, the media outlets in Poland covered the migration crisis from different aspects. Conservative media showed primarily negative aspects of migration, whereas liberal media presented specifics, such as economic migration from Ukraine, and highlighted the need for solidarity.
In 2021, Poland's parliament passed a law allowing border guards to expel migrants who cross the border illegally immediately and refuse applications for international asylum without any examination. This move was not without consequences, as some human rights groups accused Poland of legalizing "migrant pushbacks." Nevertheless, the government continued to undermine the law, strengthen its control over the judiciary, and smear journalists and human rights activists.
However, the war in Ukraine changed Poles' perception regarding migration. As of 2023, Poland plays a crucial role among the countries receiving war refugees, with approximately 3.5 million people who arrived in Poland between 24 February and mid-May of 2022. In other words, this event changed the status of Poland from an emigration country to an immigration one.
France's Evolving Stance on Immigration: A Look at the 2015 Migration Crisis and Beyond
France's response to the 2015 mass migration crisis was quite different from that of Poland. Domestic politics primarily guided the response, as the executive power tried to balance poll results and their preferences amidst a steady unemployment rate and growing popular discontent. There were also internal disagreements between Prime Minister Valls, who favored a tough stance on immigration, and President Hollande's humanist aspirations.
The crisis highlighted that France had lost its status as a country of asylum compared to other European countries, such as Germany. The arrival of over a million migrants in Europe caused widespread chaos, and although a significant decline in arrivals, tensions, and divisions continue between EU countries over migration. Mass migration has reshaped the political landscape in France and facilitated the diffusion of specific actions aiming to impact society, as noted in the Journal of European Integration.
From the first day of the war in Ukraine, France, and other European countries welcomed refugees and stood firmly alongside the Ukrainian people.
A Tale of Two Countries: Germany and Czech Republic's Response to the 2015 Migration Crisis
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