Refugee crisis: Systemic Challenges and Economic Sustainability

A roundtable discussion looking at systemic, economic and political challenges to the refugee crisis 

In many European countries, xenophobic and anti-European forces are gaining ground in the polls because of the fear of uncontrollable inflows of migrants, including refugees. The growing power of these voices poses a threat not only for further acceptance of refugees, but often also for the European integration project as a whole. In part the arguments are linked to the economic and political costs to member states of dealing with the refugee inflows, discussed during this roundtable, as well as the specific role the UK can play.


1245-1300: Registrations and Light Lunch

1300-1305: Introduction

Susi Dennison, co-Director, European Power, ECFR

1305-1400: Session 1: Systemic challenges of the refugee crisis

This session will consider the systems aspect of the challenge. European citizens are concerned about the extent to which political elites are capable of regaining control over the situation. In this context we will explore the policy options for achieving a sense of control at a European level – a common refugee fund? Is a new oversight institution required? Can burden sharing be broken down more by task? How are these challenges viewed across the EU member states affected?

Introductory Remarks: Piotr Buras, Head of Warsaw Office, ECFR


1400-1500: Session 2: Economic sustainability of the refugee crisis

In session two we will look at economic instruments and approaches to improve the sustainability of the refugee crisis. Clearly, managing refugee arrivals creates significant up front net fiscal costs for EU states. Given current strains on public finances, can an absorption capacity be defined? What are the possible long term benefits?

Introductory Remarks: Sebastien Dullien, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR


1500-1600: Session 3: What role for the UK on the refugee crisis?

As the EU moves into a challenging 2016 with the refugee crisis and its political fallout threatening the collective project as a whole, it will be crucial to move on from crisis mode and begin to look to the longer term. The foreign policy response will be central to influencing refugee flows over the longer term but as ECFR’s Scorecard 2016 shows, this has been slow in getting off the ground in 2015. Which will be the key files to watch in this field over the next year, and where and how can Europe influence them? And what role can we expect the UK to play in this aspect of the refugee crisis response, based on the assessment of its performance in the 2016 Scorecard?

Introductory Remarks: Edward Hobart, Migration Envoy, FCO


1600-1615: Closing Remarks

Susi Dennison, Co-Director of European Power Programme, ECFR


This event was organised in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK and the LSE European Institute.