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The summer of 2015 was a turning point in the history of the EU. The massive influx of migrants not only manifested a global refugee crisis, but it was also a huge challenge for Europe; the EU apparatus proved unable to respond sufficiently. Since then, the political debate on migration in Europe has been polarizing, heated, and even dangerous. For European decision-makers to find a joint policy on migration has been an extremely difficult task, eventually leading the EU to harden its approach by boosting its frontier and coastguard.

This has led to a decrease in the number of arrivals, even though in 2018, 68,5 million people were displaced, nearly 3 million more than the year before. A key issue in this regard is that closing the borders may force people to take refuge in weak or vulnerable states, leading to increased pressure on systems that are already struggling to stay afloat. This may potentially lead to more conflict, radicalization, and eventually also more refugees.

It should be recognized that the current refugee and migration crisis is not just a local or European problem – it is global. Building a “Fortress Europe” might be necessary as a short-term solution. However, a long-term solution would require different approach. At this event, experts will discuss the EU’s crisis response towards the countries in the Middle East and the Sahel where migrants and refugees come from or are important transit countries – is it helping, or is it counterproductive? The event is organized by EUNPACK and is part of the project’s final conference which will take place at CEPS in Brussels 18-19 March 2019.

Morten Bøås is a Research Professor and works predominantly on issues concerning peace and conflict in Africa, including issues such as land rights and citizenship conflicts, youths, ex-combatants and the new landscape of insurgencies and geopolitics.

Roger Mac Ginty is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, and the Department of Politics at the University of Manchester. His research has been on peace processes, political violence, and local responses to international peace-support interventions.

Sandra Pogodda is a Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies in the Department of Politics at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on state formation processes in the revolutionary societies of the Arab region; resistance movements; revolutionary challenges to peace and conflict studies; and critical development studies.

Luca Raineri is a Research Fellow in International Relations and Security Studies at the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa, Italy. He is also a member of the Research School on Peace and Conflict of Oslo. His research focuses mainly on the impact of extralegal economies (narcotics, arms and people smuggling and trafficking) on security and development in Africa.

Edouard Rodier is Director for Norwegian Refugee Council Europe - Brussels. He has long experience from the humanitarian field, including the EU Commission - Humanitarian Aid's (ECHO) Head Office in Syria, International Committee of the Red Cross, and Doctors without Borders.

The event will be moderated by Kari M. Osland, Senior Research Fellow and head of the Research group on Peace, Conflict and Development at NUPI.