Cite as: Martin-Diaz E., & Bermudez, A., 2017, “The Multilevel Governance of 'Refuge': Bringing Together Institutional and Civil Society Responses in Europe”, in Haines D., Howell J., Keles F. (eds), Maintaining Refuge: Anthropological Reflections in Uncertain Times. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants, Society for Urban, and Transnational/Global Anthropology, American Anthropological Association, pp. 87-93.
Excerpt from the chapter:
The Migration and Refugee “Crisis” in Europe
According to the Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR 2017a, based on Eurostat), 1,259,955 people asked for international protection in 2016 within the twenty-eight countries that form the European Union. This represented a decrease from the previous year, but double the number registered in 2014. Most applicants came from conflict-torn countries, mainly Syria (339,265), Afghanistan (186,595), and Iraq (130,015). These three nationalities together make up almost half of all applications. Germany accounted for 59 percent of all claims (an unprecedented share), with Italy receiving almost 10 percent, France almost 7 percent, and Greece 4 percent. These countries, except for France, also registered the largest increases. By contrast, Spain received around 1 percent of claims, amounting to 15,755. This figure was up from 2015, and almost tripled from 2014. The so-called migration and refugee crisis has become an important challenge for Europe’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. On the one hand, the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights is based on the core values of dignity, freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizens’ rights, and justice. On the other, the creation of this area calls for the articulation of measures to protect such values, including the development of common policies on asylum and immigration. This creates tensions between attempts to build a supra-state political space and the interests of the member states. In addition, the tightening of borders and policies against migrants and refugees has produced increased criticisms about the human and economic costs (Cosgrave et al. 2016). The following analysis is the result of our double position as researchers and supporters of some of the initiatives that have emerged in this context in support of refugees. Through our “participant observation” it has been possible to immerse ourselves in the reality we are studying and, at the same time, separate from it to be able to explain it.