A Lesson From the Greeks

Migration, Elections to the European Parliament and the Polish Interpretation

15 May 2019

Migration to Europe remains one of the most highly contested issues in Polish society, also on this account making it vulnerable to undue influence and manipulation. On the eve of the EP elections, it is worthwhile to reflect on the example of Greece and consider if a few lessons could not be drawn, thereby making the Polish democracy a bit more resilient.

Migration is bound to play an important role in the debate preceding elections to the European Parliament. It is, next to the environment, one of the top issues that young people across the EU highlight as close to their hearts. Migration has also proven to serve as a very efficient tool of political competition domestically.

Finally, migration to Europe is a real and tangible issue that no one can neglect; even if the implications are not spread evenly across the EU. For this reason, migration is also one of the key imperatives that the newly elected European Parliament, and so the European Commission, will have to address.

What shapes the political debate?

Over 1 million migrants and refugees arrived in Europe since 2015, of which more than about 73,000 are in Greece (ca. 15,000 on Greek islands, ca. 57,000 in mainland). The number of arrivals may have dropped since 2015 and 2016, yet, as statistics show, until May the number of accounted arrivals was a bit more than 11,000. The dynamics of arrivals depict a slight increase while the land route via north Turkey has become more frequently used than before.

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Anna Visvizi

Anna Visvizi, Ph.D., Independent Researcher, Former Head of Research at the Institute of East-Central Europe (IESW), Lublin

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