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External Factors Influencing EU Migration Policy: from 2015 Refugee Crisis till COVID-19

Student: Ekaterina Kuzenkova

Supervisor: Maxim Bratersky

Faculty: Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs

Educational Programme: Double degree programme in International Relations of the NRU HSE and the University of London (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2021

The work examines the external factors that have influenced the EU migration policy, starting with the history of its creation - which treaties form the basis, which covenants and regulations govern the migration system, which organizations are concerned with protecting the rights of refugees, the possibility of granting them asylum. The increase in the flow of migrants to the EU as a consequence of the «Arab Spring» against the backdrop of the ongoing hostilities in the Middle East, which led to the Migration Crisis. The main external factors, the migration crisis, was the policy of open borders, the desire to be reunited with relatives, Macedonia’s unreasonable decision to issue visas, which allowed migrants to move further through Europe. The settlement of asylum-seekers across the European Union caused conflicting feelings among citizens, and anti-migration movements began. The rise of crime and urban violence due to a sense of impunity for refugees has led to nationalist and xenophobic sentiments among EU residents. The migration crisis of 2015 showed the countries of Europe that the existing system needs to be reformed, as the EU was not ready for the growing flow of refugees, showing a crisis among the countries themselves then problems within the regulatory acts that were trying to change urgently. The emergence of a new coronavirus infection has adjusted migration policy and affected refugee flows. To stop the spread of coronavirus infection сountries have closed their borders, allowing the policy of isolationism and nationalism to develop, which has become an argument for some countries not to meet their EU obligations regarding the settlement of migrants. Intolerance towards any person with Asian, Arab, or Turkish roots, regardless of the time of residence and presidency, has been growing. The pandemic had a strong impact on national economies, which was one of the arguments for not adopting a new migration policy pact. By tightening migration policies, Europe has worsened the conditions of both migrants and the possibility of economic recovery. Thus, we conclude that since 2015 the most significant factors influencing the European Union’s migration policy are the «refugee crisis» and the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought about a change in the way Europeans live and the migration system.

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