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What Europe Means To Me, November 2015

20 November 2015
A group of male and female interns.

On 19 November we hosted one of our regular ‘What Europe Means To Me’ events where we ask current interns at the Centre to research a topic from a range of different perspectives and to present a short report, before having a debate with an audience of students and members of the public.

For this event we chose the highly topical theme: ‘Attitudes to Immigration, Refugees and Asylum Seekers’. Each intern was assigned a different European country (not their own) and presented an account of the events, debate and challenges in that country relating to this theme.

A group of male and female students standing in the EDC.
Frederico Rocha and Rachel Minto with the interns who spoke at the event.

Denmark – Roberta D’Agostino
Greece – Maria Segovia
Hungary – Lukasz Hangiel
France – Malgorzata Slowinska
Germany – James Newsome
The Netherlands – Emma Bateman
Poland – Matthew Graydon
Austria – Kathryn Muldoon
United Kingdom – Shannon Yu
Croatia – Sam Furse
Sweden – Arielle Papa
Italy – Georgios Dalakouras

Frederico Rocha chaired the event. He said in his introduction that we were talking about one of the most significant migration movements of modern times, involving hundreds of thousands of people attempting to move from persecution, violence and economic deprivation to countries which are variously unprepared or conflicted in their welcome to such arrivals. He also mentioned that the tragic events in Paris on 13 November 2015 must not be overlooked, and are likely to have an impact on the debate in the EU.

A woman sitting at a table addressing an audience.

To put a European context to the situation in individual countries, Dr Rachel Minto, Research Associate at Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics, set the scene by asking ‘Why do people migrate?’ and discussing the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. She highlighted three key aspects of the European response: immigration and economic development; asylum and humanitarian assistance; and security of EU territory.

The contributions by the interns were impressive, highly professional and very moving. By using a combination of hard information (which after all is what the EDC is all about) and bringing out the human dimension so eloquently and movingly, we were all made clearly aware of the challenges for individual countries, for the EU, and for the migrants themselves.

We had an impressive audience of about sixty people and after the presentations there was a powerful debate. Especially welcome were comments from current asylum seekers in the UK and from those pointing out that the issue of integrating Muslims in Europe must be part of the debate.

Before closing the meeting Frederico reminded everyone that we can help you to find information on European Migration Challenges through our Information Guide on the topic (regularly updated), and on a daily basis through European Sources Online.

After the event Rachel Minto emailed to say: “Congratulations on hosting such a superb event yesterday. Your events are a real credit to the University. You’ve created something super at the EDC. I was so pleased to have been involved”.

One of the audience members, Mustafa Hameed, Deputy Coordinator at Trinity Centre, Cardiff wrote to say: “Well done for a great event tonight. Very insightful and I was waiting for an event like this where Europe and the refugee crisis issue would be discussed. Dr Rachel Minto and EDC students and staff were amazing”.

You can see more photos from the event on our facebook page.