Amid continuing instability across the Middle East and North Africa, vast numbers of refugees have fled violence and oppression in their homelands, seeking refuge in Europe. The magnitude of the influx of people has triggered a crisis within individual countries and the European Union as a whole, creating a large-scale struggle to cope with assisting and resettling the refugees. Providing food, shelter, educational services, and other aid to the refugees presents serious logistical and economic challenges. Even more seriously though, the crisis is exacerbating divisions within many European states and across Europe over how to deal with refugees and the larger question of integration. The societal and political crisis for Europe may prove to be an existential one for the European Union.
On November 18, the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) brought together a panel of international experts to assess the crisis and how it is affecting European politics, society, and the role Europe will play in an increasingly globalized world. Panelists were Brookings Fellows Constanze Stelzenmüller, Kemal Kirişci, Matteo Garavoglia, and Leon Wieseltier, as well as Nathalie Tocci of the Istituto Affari Internazionali. CUSE Director Fiona Hill offered opening remarks.