History of migrations to and among the Europe

 

The major migrations among the Europe date back to the post World War II period, when a new geopolitical
landscape was established. Due to geopolitical changes, a significant number of
German refugees were coming back home from the USSR, Poland, Hungary and
Czechoslovakia, after being relocated because of political reasons. Surprisingly
high number of total 11,2 million refugees could be observed in West and East Germany
by 1950 (Salt and Clout, 1976).

After this considerable
after-war inflow of refugees, European states have faced an another wave of
immigrants who were coming from the former European colonies.  During 1960, which is referred to as the Year
of Africa, numerous African nations proclaimed their independence from such
European states as France, Belgium and the UK. Before that, Asian colonies of
Great Britain were decolonized and in 1947 free states of India and Pakistan
appeared on a world map. Consequently, prominent migration growth was triggered
by decolonization and further movements of people to their mother countries,
after they had settled in former European colonies.  For instance, France alone accepted more then
a million of Algerian refugees, and a lot of immigrants from other African
states besides that (McDonald, 1965).

Further expansion of European
countries as well as the fall of iron curtain and collapse of Soviet Union had
caused an another inflow of immigrants. The fall of Berlin wall in 1989 has
resulted in unification of Germany and a major displacement of ethnic Germans
from Eastern Europe back home. The come-down of Soviet Union and development of
European economy had triggered an inflow of citizens from poorer countries to
richer ones.

The subsequent events include
the formation of the European Union and a noticeable rise of free movement of
people among the Union’s member sates, which was first stated in 1985 Schengen
Agreement. These changes encouraged citizens of the EU to travel and to enter
another countries labor markets with an aim of getting more profit. But
migrations could be observed not only among the borders of the EU, but also
from the outside world. The asylum seekers from the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria
and Romania, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other states, were making asylum
application in Western Europe though ‘most of them did not have a well-founded
fear of persecution, but were anxious to exercise their new-found freedom of
movement’ (UNHCR, 2012). These and many further inflows of migrants resulted in
that in 2010 according to EUROSTAT 9,4% of the EU population were born abroad,
and this percentage corresponds to 47.3 million people, which is an enormously
high number.

 

The background
and the beginning of European immigrant crisis

During the modern times, when
world war is absolutely unacceptable and by different means prevented by the
world community, Europe has suddenly experienced the most considerable displacement
of people since the post WWI period. This enormously big inflow of migrants
took place in 2015 and is known as the European migrant crisis. Only during
first nine month of mass migrations, almost half a million people have come to
Mediterranean shores of the EU’s member states, and, moreover, numbers kept
growing and soon resulted in terrifying number of 1.2 million asylum seekers
during the whole year of 2015 (EUROSTAT). Those uncommon influxes of migrants
and refuges had appeared due to a range of complicated reasons, which need to
be discussed.

 The most widespread cause of such a major
immigration is crisis, that took place in Arab countries, such as Syria. Up to
the year of 2015 Syrian population have been already fighting in civil war for
four years, during which at least 250 thousands of Syrians have died (The Washington Post). As there were no
perspectives of solving major problems in Syria, a lot of civilians have decided
to leave their homes with an aim of reaching Europe and be in safe. People in
Muslim-major countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, Somalia and Niger
were also suffering from civil wars and growing tense between the government
and opposition. The violence and abuse, as well as poverty in mentioned
countries has led to an overall number of 1,255,640 first-time asylum applications
in 2015 (EUROSTAT). Almost 30% of applicants were Syrians, 14% and 10% were
from Afghanistan and Iraq correspondingly (EUROSTAT). So, the immigrant crisis
was triggered by disadvantaged citizens of Muslim-major states, which were
suffering from abuses and disrespect and that is why were obliged to leave
their home countries to live in safety.

Main
routes of migrations

During the European migrant
crisis Europe’s borders have been in absolute chaos with around 4,000 arrivals
per day due to research of Migration Policy Institute (2015). Although, some EU’s
states, such as Latvia and Estonia, were almost not disturbed by the migrants’
influx, other, such as Hungary, Italy and a few more front line states, have
faced dramatically increased pressure on their borders.

 Generally, among all destinations of refugees
and economic migrants, one can distinguish three may routes, which are Central,
Eastern Mediterranean Routes and Western Balkans. The first route includes
Italy and Malta, which accepted remarkable numbers of asylum seekers from
Egypt, Tunisia and Egypt, who have come there on smuggler’s boats. Actually
this route was the most dangerous one, because due to International Organization
for Migration, 3,000 people had died while crossing the Mediterranean to reach
Italian coast.

Another route, leading to
Greece, was widely used by migrants, who were undertaking their journeys from Turkey,
those people were mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. This route,
well-known as Eastern Mediterranean, was way shorter and cheaper than others,
for instance sea crossing from Turkey to Greece would take less than two hours
and cost no more than $3,000, while smugglers on Central Mediterranean would
require you to pay twice bigger price (The Washington
Post).

The last route, which was used
to reach Hungarian borders, is Western Balkans, that was followed by numerous
refugees from Kosovo and Albania, as well as by migrants who have already
reached the shore of Greece and wanted to move further.

General
impacts of immigration

 

 

Immigration of culturally distinguished people results in destruction
of national homogeneity, and therefore may lead to inequality and social conflicts.
The cultural issue of immigration today seems to be as important as never
before, because of a close link between cultural belonging and political identity
implied by states nowadays (Castles and Davidson, 2000).

 

Cultural consequences of immigration lay in various spheres
of life starting with the area of cuisine and traditional food and ending with
new fashion trends rooted in Muslim traditional clothes. It is undeniably
strange to see a romantic city of Paris full with small Falafel and Shawarma’s
shops. Even though we live in era of globalization, a lot of the EU’s member
states citizens might be unsatisfied with massive immigrations, because
foreigners’ influxes threaten cultural cohesiveness of Union and challenge the
sovereignty of certain states (Adamson, 2006).

 

Spheres of political life and social cohesion are not less
crucial, than the cultural domain, and are also considerably influenced by
migrants’ inflows.

 

In fact, political impacts of immigrations are ambiguous. On
the one hand, migrants are usually representatives of middle class or elite
groups (Guarnizo, 2003), who are often law-obedient and hard-working. On the
other hand, under particular circumstances, nevertheless, migrants can become a
potential strength encouraging political reforms (Castles, De Haas and Miller,
2014). Of course, immigrants’ effects on politics is correlated with an extend
to which they are treated by government. Whether they are legally admitted or
not; the quality of governmental help and the attitude to them formed in state’s
society. In case of being unsatisfied with their rights, immigrants can organize
meetings, turnouts or even some cruel
terroristic attacks to defend
their cultural distinctions and rights.

 

Social cohesion is another sphere influenced by
immigrations. Incorporation of foreigners into society usually takes a lot of
time, and often instead of the assimilating, newcomers start settling their own
associations and social networks (Castles, De Haas and Miller, 2014) to
preserve their languages and customs. Moreover, nationalistically predisposed
part of nation-states’ population would probably not accept immigrants as equal
members of society, which may lead to discrimination on the basis of race and
class (Portes and Rumbaut, 2006). This results in backlash against
multiculturalism, mostly triggered by refuse of ethnic minorities to integrate
and by a fear Islam and terrorism (Castles, De Haas and Miller, 2014).

 

Impacts of European immigrant
crisis on European Union’s coherence

 

Such a huge displacement of people, as that occurred during
the European migrant crisis, had obviously brought about substantial consequences,
which burst in upon the balanced tempo of living of European residents. So, it
is not unexpected that EU’s member states as well as institutions were hugely
confused after the events of 2015.

 

When the immigrant crisis had occurred, the European Union
was referring to the Dublin regulation, which determines which of the EU’s
member states has to take care of asylum claims (European Parliament). And
according to the main rule, the country of entry is responsible for that.
However, asylum law was not evaluated equally among European states. For example,
while Germany has been approving up to 60% of asylum application, Hungary and
Greece, which are front-line countries, have accepted only 9% and 4% correspondingly
(The Budapest Beacon). Although the
Dublin regulation has supremacy over the member states’ laws, a lot of states
could not handle the crisis, which somehow shows the lack of unity among
European states.

 

An event with significant importance was the building of a
fence on a Hungarian border, with a purpose of not letting refugees come to
Hungary. This action of Hungarian government had disrespected the European
Union’s law as well as human rights, which are highly appreciated by whole
Union.

 

Another sensitive issue threating common values adopted in
the EU was contradiction between Schengen zone’s regulation and nation-state’s
control over their borders. General aim of Schengen system, which is free movement
of people through open internal borders, this time appeared as insufficient,
because external borders of the EU were controlled exactly by member states.

 

 Although, some countries,
such as Germany, have taken numerous migrants, other states have ignored EU’s
liberal laws and refused signing up to a quota system. In comparison to German counselor
Angela Merkel, who was warmly welcoming migrant influx, leaders of numerous EU
states did not support the idea of letting foreigners go into their national
shells.

 

Another factor, causing social and cultural division between
EU’s member states, was the further assimilation of newcomers, which led to a
de-emergence of systematic ethnic structurations in nation-states, that are
followed by social inequality and differentiation (Portes and DeWind,2008).
Immigration itself affects community and identity of individuals, moreover when
it comes to Muslims, the affect is even mere considerable. ‘Terrorists’ or ‘Islamists’
are widely used words today, which have the distinct connection to Muslim immigrants.
As Indian economist Amartaya Sen has emphasized: ‘The confusion between the
plural identities of Muslims and their Islamic identity is not a descriptive
mistake, it has serious implications for peace in the precarious world in which
we live’ (Giddens, 2014). Due to numerous terroristic attacks happened in
twentieth century, it is reasonably grounded why people in Europe are
surrounded by the fear of terrorism and consequently by major inflows of Muslim
immigrants. So that, immigration crisis has a huge impact on emergence of diversity
within various member states and the rise of terroristic attacks’ threat.