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Migration: Why Borders Matter


09 Oct 2023


Public Affairs
Meeting this week an opportunity to ask hard questions about Europe’s migration crisis

Brussels,Belgium Monday 9th October 2023

Europe faces an unprecedented challenge to its borders and yet European leaders talk of being overwhelmed by migration whilst lacking any serious proposals. As asylum seekers in Greece dance in support of Hamas’ atrocities in Israel, what will be the impact of mass migration on European societies?

Join MCC Brussels for an examination of the importance of borders, how Europe ended up in a migration crisis and how we might address this threatening situation.
18:00, Wednesday 11th October Press Club Brussels, Rue Froissart 95, 1040 Bruxelles


Patricia Chagnon MEP, Rassemblement National and ID

Professor Frank Furedi, Executive Director of MCC Brussels and author of Why Borders Matter: Why humanity must relearn the art of drawing boundaries said:

“The issue of migration overshadowed last week’s EU Summit in Granada. It is an issue that has haunted Europe throughout this century. Though the Summit failed to agree on a joint statement on migration, it is evident that the majority of those in attendance have embraced the policy of acquiescing to the reality of mass migration. Their policy consists of a half-hearted attempt to bribe Governments in North Africa to do their best to stop the flow, while seeking to redistribute the large numbers of migrants who made it to Europe throughout the continent. In effect the EU’s barely concealed open-door policy to mass migration is set to continue.”

Furedi Continued, “The main cause of mass migration to Europe is the willingness of numerous governments – especially the Germans - to welcome them. The external borders of the Continent have only a symbolic significance for the EU Commission. All its policies are about impression management rather than the prevention of the inflow of illegal migrants. As I argue in my book, Why Borders Matter, until the EU takes its borders seriously, problems will go from bad to worse. Until mass migration is genuinely treated as a security issue and not merely a humanitarian one this problem will never solved.”


Migration: Why Borders Matter

With migration, the European Union is facing a crisis of both practicalities and principles. Not only does the Union face the arrival of unprecedented numbers of migrants, but the crisis calls into question some of the fundamental professed values of European elites and societies. For decades, the EU has trumpeted its attachment to the principles of free movement and the ideal of a ‘borderless’ society. Yet from Germany’s recent imposition of border controls on Poland to the militarisation of the EU’s external borders, these ideals are being questioned as never before.

Rising disaffection with Europe’s migration policies have forced borders back to the forefront of the national conversation. Across the continent, leaders have promised to get tough with both legal and illegal migration. The most recent flashpoint has been in Italy, with politicians talking of an ‘invasion’ of arrivals from North Africa and beyond. The seeming inability of Europe’s elites to control and manage the border has sparked anger across the continent.

The assumption of many elites is that a concern for borders is a sign of a backward mentality. Rich Europeans, they argue, have a moral obligation to allow in almost anyone feeling persecution or even merely seeking a better life. But borders are not a relic of the past. Indeed, the widespread condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine indicates that sovereignty rests on the ability to control one’s borders. In fact, borders – whether between states, between adult and child, between man and woman, between public and private – have an enduring importance in an age where old certainties seem to have been called into question.

The migration crisis throws up fundamental questions for Europeans. In an ‘age of migration’, should Europeans accept almost unlimited new arrivals from abroad? What is the impact of migration on different European societies? Who should decide on the question of borders – EU elites or national democracies? Fundamentally, do borders matter, and why?


To interview speakers please contact John O’ Brien Head of Communications 

MCC Brussels 

Mobile +32 2 476/339234 email




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