Migration Crisis: A Catalyst for a New Europe?

  • Lieutenant Colonel Andrew S. Zieseniss

In 2015, the movement of migrants from Africa and the Middle East caught the E.U. completely off guard. As the numbers grew over the year, many people throughout Europe began to see the migration crisis as a major cultural, economic, and physical security threat. Every incident, such as the Cologne New Year’s attacks, adds concern to traditionally homogeneous cultures still feeling the effects of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent global recession. The influx of migrants has had immediate impacts throughout Europe. These impacts are an increase in discrimination, the growth in political turmoil, and the rise of right wing parties. If the E.U. does not successfully address the migrant crisis soon, there will be long-term consequences for the current structure of the union. The crisis threatens economic and political stability throughout Europe. A weakened E.U. will also lose its diplomatic leverage around the world. Finally, stability on the continent, the very reason the six original members founded the E.U. after WWII, could once again be at risk. As a key ally, a weakened E.U. will have adverse political and economic impacts for the U.S. Assisting the E.U. in resolving the crisis is an important interest for the U.S.