Migration, Borders, and Security

Date of event: 3.11.2016

The event was opened by PCTR Director Alexandr Vondra and the Director of the Hanns Seidel Foundation Czech Office Martin Kastler. The Vice President for International Relations of the CEVRO Institute Tomáš Pojar then introduced the speakers and moderated the lecture and debate. Four speakers presented their contributions: Gil Ad Ariely, Chief Knowledge Officer and senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel; Günther Becksteinformer Minister-President of Bavaria, former Bavarian Minister of the Interior, Germany; Tomáš Haišman, Director of the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy, Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic; Bassam Tibi, professor emeritus of international relations at the University of Göttingen, Germany.

Gil Ad Ariely was the first speaker and he was focused mainly on the issue of border security checks. Although the controls are ever tighter, especially at the airports, any change is immediately met by our adversaries. We all want security at the highest level but this usually comes with restrictions on our freedom at the same time. According to Gil Ad Ariely, advancing technologies can help solve this dilemma. For example, the concept of smart borders allows thorough checks to happen technologically behind the curtain, without us even noticing it. Crucial in this term is then global cooperation among nations.

Günter Beckstein presented the point of view of a former politician from Bavaria. After the reunification, many Germans dreamed about Europe without borders which however bring security issues. Günter Beckstein added that cross-border cooperation of security services among EU member states increases nowadays. Nevertheless, the exchange of important information with the USA is still insufficient. To questions about the current migration wave, he said that our politics must maintain humanity but the European Union cannot solve all the problems in the world.

According to Tomáš Haišman, the keyword is not migration but security, in particular the feeling of security. The objective of Czech politics should therefore continue to be preserving the security feeling of the Czech citizens. The only thing that surprised him with regards to the current security situation in Europe is the inability of EU representatives to set goals and take action. While the Czech Republic underwent thorough evaluation before joining Schengen it is evident now that two European states are not able to comply with Schengen conditions and protect EU external borders and the EU does not react to this.

Bassam Tibi was the last speaker. He said that nowadays Europe is not facing migrations but rather demographic flows. While migration is related to individuals what is happening now in Europe is an influx of unwanted. Bassam Tibi used the example of the Ivory Coast to point out what can happen to a country that is unable to control its borders. He also said that integration does not mean providing only some accommodation and language courses for the newcomers but rather incorporating them into society. The rise of not integrated parallel society poses a significant security concern.

Following debate concerned a wide range of topics including the ideas about how the borders will look like in 20 years, the EU-Turkey deal, or the impact of the US election on future development.

We would like to thank our partners for supporting this event: Civic InstituteEuropean ValuesHanns Seidel FoundationNew Direction, and Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies

You can find media coverage of the even following these links:

Civic Institute: http://www.obcinst.cz/migrace-hranice-a-bezpecnost/

Parlamentní listy: http://www.parlamentnilisty.cz/arena/monitor/Uprchlicka-vlna-je-rizena-zbran-nepratel-Evropy-Sef-azyloveho-odboru-na-vnitru-rozebral-zajmy-ktere-za-ni-stoji-461271

Security magazine: http://www.securitymagazin.cz/zpravy/sef-azylu-haisman-migrace-jako-zbran-vse-do-sebe-zapada-langer-turecko-1404053521.html