Cite as: Lamb, I.A., 2016, “The gates of Greece: Refugees and policy choices”. Mediterranean Quarterly 27(2): 67-88.
The scale of the migrant crisis took Europe by surprise in 2015, but 2016 promised to be far worse. Europe dithered on how to respond, confusing the demands of compassion with migrant relocation policy and failing to recognize Greece's inability to resolve the crisis independently. Pioneering academic work on refugees and assimilation limns the essential choices policy makers have: (1) throw open the gates to Europe and hope new Muslims citizens will eventually assimilate, (2) exclude Muslim immigrants and try to subordinate Islamic beliefs to European norms for those already in Europe, or (3) test whether Islamic countries are able and willing to support the current international liberal order, including freedom of conscience on matters of faith. Greece's current weakness means it will have to accommodate whatever choice European leaders make.