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An Occasional Alliance or a new power in Europe? The V4s Coalition Building along the Refugee Issue?

There is a growing coalition forming around Hungary, linking the V4 countries and various nationalist/populist forces in European politics. This new coalition does not only promote a "Europe of nation states" in opposition to a more federalist Europe, but also a hostile approach towards migration.

Regarding the topic, the Central European University and the regional project "Flight, Migration, Integration in Europe" (FMI) of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung held a conference in Budapest on October 31st 2017.

The conference analysed the coalition building along the refugee issue and centred the question of the self-image and role the V4 has as a regional bloc in Europe. The panel consisted of political experts from Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

Péter Balázs criticized in his introductory words the slowly working migration and integration policy of the V4 member states. Then the expert panel discussed how the different V4 member states changed its character since the migration crisis - taking for example the Czech election victory of Andrej Babis' or the various mood stages towards refugees in Slovakia into account. Overall, the voices on the panel argued strongly for finding a compromise on the external borders in order to reach an agreement with the member states. On the other hand, the discussion also showed how improbable a possible agreement on a common European refugee policy would be.

What's your story (about flight and migration)? - Workshop for European journalists between 18-21. October in Catania

The refugee situation, especially in the late summer of 2015, posed a big challenge for journalists and media agencies all over Europe. Debates did not only divide public opinion in Europe but also affected the media coverage significantly. Questions about the moral distance of journalists and the quality of the coverage were raised.

In this regard, we invited 12 journalists from 12 European countries to a workshop to Sicily, to reflect on their work and exchange ideas about good journalism and new narratives. The journalists discussed also about good examples and typical mistakes of press coverage and the role of the media throughout the crisis. They exchanged not only tools to excert influence on peoples' empathy and distribute information among the topic, but also methods to maintain the credibility of press workers who work on this controversal topic. Furthermore, the journalists made recommendations for new formats and collaborations with other journalists.

Italy offered a good location for the workshop. In 2017 most migrants who crossed the Mediterranean Sea have arrived in Italy. The country felt itself left alone in the EU with handling the situation. The journalists had the opportunity to gain an insight: they visited the Europe's largest asylum seeker's reception centre Cara di Mineo, the Italian HQ of the European agencies Frontex and EASO in Catania and the rescue ship of S.O.S. Mediterranae. Furthermore, they met representatives of local and international migration aid inititatives run by NGO's and Italian churches.

Press reports are available:

Michal Kokot, Gazeta Wyborcza, 3.11.2017 (in Polish)

Markus Müller, Mittagsjournal, ORF, 23.10.2017, Ö1 (wav format in German)

Our new publication is online!

Q&A: Trending Issues on Migration

Tamás Boros

The EU Quota Ruling: What are the Reasons for the Hungarian Government's Reaction?

In response to the Hungarian and Slovakian legal challenge of the mandatory refugee relocation scheme, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rejected the claim on the 6th of September. This policy briefing explains why the Hungarian government still rejects the ruling and analyses how it is using the anti-migration narrative to sustain its power.

You can view or download the publication by clicking on the following link: Link to Publication

Europe Calling - Refugee Policy: Europe and its borders

On June 12th, the FES migration project in Budapest hosted the international conference "Europe Calling - Refugee Policy: Europe and its borders". Participants from Italy, Greece, Hungary, Germany and the Netherlands discussed the questions: What is the current status of European external borders? How can we find the right balance between security and humanity? And, how do we imagine the future of Europe's borders with regard to the refugee situation?

Naturally, not every question could be answered. Nevertheless, the conference offered a good overview of the different European discourses. It tried to find common space in tackling the refugee situation in Europe. Follow this link to read the full conference blog.

"Nothing is true, everything is possible?" - Conference Report on Fake News and Migration

While the phenomenon of "fake news" is everything but new, the current globalized internet offers a far larger reach and possibilities for dissemination than ever before. Social media sites are easily capable of creating bubbles and fostering personalized world views for user’s behaviour. In this regard, today one of the most relevant topics of public discourses driven by fake news is the issue of international migration.

On May 24th 2017, Political Capital, a Hungarian political think tank, and the regional project "Flight, Migration, Integration in Europe" (FMI) of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung held a conference in Budapest titled "Political effects of migration related fake-news".

In the beginning, Political Capital presented its new study about motivations, methods and effects of spreading migration-related fake news in Europe. After this, the dissemination of fake news was reflected in a keynote speech held by the Hungarian start-up Bakamo Social which measures reach and impact of unconventional media sources. In panel discussions, experts, politicians and members of the audience were discussing how to detect and fight against pseudo-news, disinformation and conspiracy theories. During the discussions, a special focus was cast on the representativ Facebook who had to justify her companies current practices but also offered potential solutions.

Our report about the event is available here.

Az eseményről szóló beszámolónk magyarul itt érhető el.

Press reports are available here (in German).

A magyar nyelvű sajtómegjelenéseket itt (, itt (, itt (Né, és itt (HR Portál) olvashatja.

"Flight, Migration, Integration in Europe"

*German and Hungarian version below

Currently, few debates are polarizing Europe as much as the one on flight, migration and integration. In 2016, 1.2 million people applied for asylum in the European Union. However, the reactions of the individual EU member states could not have been more different, especially concerning issues such as border protection, the migrant quota system, solidarity, identity, migration or integration. The debate is highly controversial and emotions run high.

Against this backdrop, at the beginning of 2017 the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung launched a new European project Flight, Migration, Integration in Europe. It has the following objectives:

To achieve these goals, within the framework of the project events will be organized for European decision-makers and opinion-formers. It will focus on the exchange of actors and policy recommendations. Publications and research articles will be produced to underpin the project.

"Flucht, Migration, Integration in Europa"

Derzeit gibt es wenige Themen, die Europa so polarisieren wie die Debatte zu Flucht, Migration und Integration. Alleine 2016 stellten 1,2 Millionen Menschen einen Erst-Antrag auf Asyl in der Europäischen Union. Die Positionen der einzelnen Länder könnten dabei unterschiedlicher nicht sein: Fragen zu Grenzschutz, Quotenregelung, Solidarität, Identität, Migration und Integration bestimmen die Debatte und werden sowohl sehr gegensätzlich als auch emotional geführt.

Die Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung hat daher Anfang 2017 ein neues, europaweites Projekt "Flucht, Migration, Integration in Europa" gestartet. Das Projekt soll

Konkret bietet das Projekt hierzu Veranstaltungen für europäische Multiplikatoren und Entscheidungsträger_innen. Im Fokus steht ein Austausch der Akteure und politische Beratung. Ebenso sollen Publikationen und wissenschaftliche Beiträge das Thema fachlich unterstützen.

"Menekülés, migráció, integráció Európában"

Jelen pillanatban kevés vita osztja meg annyira Európát, mint az, amely a menekültügyről, a migrációról és a menekültek integrációjáról zajlik. Csak 2016-ban összesen 1,2 millió menekültkérelmet nyújtottak be az Európai Unióhoz. Az egyes európai országok azonban nagyon eltérő álláspontot képviselnek a vitában - különösképpen a határvédelemmel, menekültkvótával, szolidaritással, identitással és integrációval kapcsolatos kérdésekben. A vita rendkívűl ellentmondásos és érzelemmel telített.

A Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung ezért 2017 elején úgy döntött, hogy egy új európai projektet indít "Menekülés, migráció, integráció Európában" címmel és alábbi célkitűzésekkel

Ezen célok elérése érdekében rendezvényeket szervezünk európai döntéshozók és multiplikátorok részére. A fókuszban az ő párbeszédük áll, valamint az a törekvés, hogy menekültügyi kérdésekben közös cselekvési ajánlások szülessenek a politika számára. A projekt ehhez kapcsolódó tudományos publikációkat és tanulmányokat is támogat.


Timo Rinke, project manager

1056 Budapest

Fővám tér 2-3.