A staggering 110 million people are currently displaced worldwide – a record number, according to a report released by the UN Refugee Agency in January. Faced with oppression, climate catastrophes and wars, many are risking their lives to get to what they perceive as safe European shores. In this issue’s policy focus, we take a closer look at the European Union’s migration policy.
Is it a safe haven, or a fortress? With a new, stricter migration pact looming, the EU stands at a crossroads when it comes to dealing with migration. How far will it raise its drawbridge? MEPs and NGOs weigh in on the matter, and we travel to southern Italy, where refugees are helping to revive depopulated villages. Meanwhile, in Belgium, hundreds of asylum seekers are being forced to sleep rough, just a stone’s throw away from EU institutions. We tell the story behind the country’s asylum crisis.
Elsewhere in the issue, we take a look inside the robust walls of Fortress Europe, where we are witnessing a change of (green) power: who is Wopke Hoekstra, the man who has taken over the sceptre of the EU’s climate czar Frans Timmermans? And with lawmakers currently discussing “Daphne’s Law”, named after the Maltese journalist who was murdered six years ago, we consider how the law intends to protect journalists from abusive lawsuits – and if it will.
On a lighter note, our culture pages recommend the art of not doing anything – something we should all take to heart – and put the spotlight on a book illustrating the myriad things refugees save and carry with them on their perilous journeys, from aubergine seeds to childhood songs. And should you make it to Geneva, consider visiting the exhibition of Turkish modern artist Burhan Doğançay, reviewed here.
We hope you enjoy this read around Europe.