Battle of Ideas | What future for Fortress Europe?

International debate on the refugee crisis and on Europe's border policies


TUE 06.10.15 | 19:30 > 21:30

deBuren, Leopoldstraat 6, 1000 Brussels


In English

An increasing number of people - economists, philosophers and policy makers alike - believe that the option of free movement of people is not as far-fetched as is often considered. Historically, border checks and passport controls are relatively recent phenomena, and not as inevitable as they seem today.

Dutch philosopher Marli Huijer has written that "The idea that Europe should become fenced territory to safeguard its citizens from a swelling wave of migrants runs counter to the goal of an active European or global citizenship, as it is formulated by the European Parliament. In a wide historical sense the fencing of Europe is in opposition to principles characteristic of a free and open society: reason, humanity, liberty, equality." Also economist Philippe Legrain (UK) is one of several proponents of the free movement of people.

All these different voices do not merely raise cultural and ethical, but also economic and historically grounded arguments. Against the background of the many boat refugees that attempt to make it to Europe each month and each year, and in a global context in which illegal migration is leading to increasingly difficult ethical problems and humanitarian catastrophes, should we not take these arguments much more seriously? Is Europe lacking the political courage to address them? Or are these "believers" simply wrong?

 With Karel Smouter (NL, De Correspondent), film producer Dagmawi Yimer (ETH/IT), Luke Gittos (GB, Spiked Online) and philosopher Tinneke Beeckman (BE). Chaired by Dave Bowden from the Institute of Ideas (GB).


Organisation: deBuren & Institute of Ideas