The mismanagement of the Migration Crisis

Updated: May 8, 2018


The second event of Message to Europeans 3.0 in Budapest, Hungary.

On 5-7 March 2018, 62 students and young academics came together from 13 EU countries in Budapest, Hungary, for the second event of “Message to Europeans 3.0”, a mock trial on the topic of migration.

The aim of the event was to have an intense discussion on the current challenges and prospective solutions on this crucial theme.

Hosted by the Bibo Istvan College for Advanced Studies, partner of the project, the event took place at the Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Law. The involvement of local university lecturers, researchers, and professionals from non-governmental organizations further contributed to the success of the event.

The first day of the programme was devoted to workshops to allow participants to familiarize themselves with debating skills and trial methodology.

The mock trial on migration and refugee law took place on the next day. The judge was prof. Tamas Lattman, associate professor at the National Public University, and the experts were Gabor Gyulau, responsible for the Refugees Project oh the Helsinki Committee in Human rights, Pier Virgilio Dastoli, president of the European Movement in Italy, and András Varga, professor at the National Public University. During the mock trial the students represented the sides of prosecution and defence.

The centre of the discussion was the quota decision, especially the four institutions with a role in its formation and implementation, the European Council, the Council of the EU, the European Commission, and the Court of Justice of the EU. Each of these institutions was represented by two attorneys and three researchers. Another side represented were the Member States with most incoming migrants during the crisis.

The topics discussed ranged from general questions of state sovereignty, overall solidarity, and methods and ways how each Member State can - and has to - cope with the problems raised, taking into account national characteristics, cultural, economic, geography, and also political diversities.

Lilla, a student leader of the project, who was an attorney in the mock trial commented: “We had the opportunity to get an insight into the work of the European Commission. During our short debate, we discussed the most urgent and relevant issues relating to the migration crisis, such as security concerns, cultural differences as well as the economic considerations. The two-day conference was an amazing experience, which helped me to understand this relevant and pressing issue of today's EU.”

The mock trial didn’t have a final winner or a more successful position in the debate. According to the judge’s argument, there is probably no universal approach or general truth in terms of this issues as the responsibility remains shared.

On the last day through some civic initiatives organised, participants heard the opinion of Hungarian citizens on migration directly from them on the streets of Budapest: students arranged street interviews and coordinated other interactive activities as instant polls or group-dances.

With 27 local students and 35 international students participants, this event has been a multicultural and a interdisciplinary initiative. Foreign participants came from Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Finland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Estonia, Romania and Poland.

“Although this project brought us together from very diverse cultures, fields of science, and we each had different opinions on the challenges presented to us, through debate and discussions we received a wider perspective from each other. In this way we shape and inspire each other to be better, thereby already starting to make a change”, said Virág, a Hungarian participant from the ELTE Faculty of Law.

After this event in Budapest, the project, supported by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Commission, is actively continuing its race around Europe. The students involved in the project are engaging more and more citizens in a debate on the Future of Europe through the organisation of civic initiatives in their countries. The opinions they will collect, together with the results gathered from the project’s events will converge in the final declaration of the “Message to Europeans 3.0”: the proposal for a renewed narrative for the European Union.