Online seminar for volunteering at Europe's (external) borders


3. Political and social situation of people on the move

at Europe’s (external) borders

The social and political situation of people on the move at Europe's (external) borders is a complex issue that requires consideration of historical, political, social, and legal realities. Jurisdictions and political practices at the borders change frequently. Therefore, we will provide a brief overview of the most important developments and regulations. For further interest and questions, we refer to other organisations that deal with these developments on a daily basis and for a long time, and thus can present them much better..
What is important for you and the work in your project?

  • Inform yourself about the asylum regulations in order to better understand the living conditions of the people you work with. What are the migration policies in theory and practice? What are the current developments on the ground? What are the current developments on the ground?
  • Be aware of the political and social situation of the country where your project is based in. What is the political and social situation in the country (Greece, Italy, Serbia, etc.) where you want to work?

(Forced) migration

A global perspective on (forced) migration

All over the world, millions of people are forcibly displaced. The numbers have skyrocketed, especially in recent years, and are higher than ever before in the nearly 70-year long history of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Only a very small proportion of the world's displaced people are seeking refuge in Europe.

Facts & Figures:
  • At the end of 2020, 82,4 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide. This figure includes, among others, 48 million internally displaced persons (people fleeing within their country) and 26 million refugees under UNHCR and UNRWA mandates.
  • 73% of all displaced people worldwide are hosted in countries neighboring their countries of origin. More than two thirds (68 per cent) of all refugees and displaced persons abroad came from Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, or Myanmar. Turkey, Colombia, Pakistan and Uganda are by far the countries hosting the largest number of refugees and displaced persons.
Source: UNHCR (2021): Global Trends 2021 .

(Forced) migration to and in Europe

  • The political situation of people on the move is quite different in the various states of the EU. The European Union has established common standards for handling asylum applications and dealing with those seeking protection within the framework of a Common European Asylum System (CEAS).
  • In reality, however, political circumstances (parties in government, etc.), the implementation and duration of the respective asylum procedures, and the living conditions of people seeking asylum and protection vary greatly.

Consequences of the European migration policy
The European migration policy increasingly relies on the externalisation and militarisation of border protection, which severely restricts the rights of protection seekers, especially in border regions, and often subjects them to inhumane conditions:

  • The inhumane conditions at Europe's external borders, with well-known examples such as the Moria (now Kara Tepe) refugee camps on Lesbos or Lipa in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are not temporary humanitarian emergencies or crises. On the contrary: the current situation is politically desired and a direct consequence of European policies that want to outsource responsibility for people seeking protection
  • Instead of establishing policy mechanisms that allow people on the move to apply for asylum in Europe in a legal and safe way, people seeking protection are in many cases arrested, beaten and increasingly criminalised at the borders. people seeking protection are in many cases arrested, beaten and increasingly criminalised at the borders. If access to asylum is granted, asylum processes usually take several months to years and asylum-seeking people are forced to live for long periods in camps with sometimes inhumane living conditions.
  • In addition, everyday people on the move are affected by illegal and violent push-backs (informal expulsion at the border or from within the country without the possibility to apply for asylum), discriminatory practices and police violence. Push-backs do not only take place at Europe's external borders, but also within Europe, such as in the border areas of the Balkan region, at the border between Italy and France or in Calais.
  • The attempt to prevent people from migrating and fleeing to Europe no longer takes place only at the European borders, but is outsourced by the EU to African or Eastern European states. In order to outsource the responsibility for people seeking protection in Europe, the EU cooperates with states such as Turkey or the paramilitary militia of the so-called "Libyan Coast Guard".

Legal foundations and asylum in Europe

The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and the Dublin III Regulation

The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) essentially consists of two regulations and several directives:

  • The Dublin III Regulation(see below), regulates the responsibility of EU Member States.
  • The EURODAC Regulation was created for the Europe-wide fingerprint comparison of asylum seekers.
  • The Reception Directive regulates common standards for the living conditions of asylum seekers.
  • The Qualification Directive regulates who qualifies as a refugee or a person in need of subsidiary protection.
  • The Procedure Directive regulates the minimum standards of asylum procedures..
A very good summary of information on European asylum policy can be found at Mediendienst Integration (DE)
What is the Dublin III Regulation?

  • The so-called Dublin III Regulation came into force in 2014. It regulates which EU-member-state is responsible for international protection when an asylum application is made. According to this regulation, the member state in which an asylum seeker first set foot on EU soil or where his*her fingerprints were first taken must conduct the asylum procedure.
  • The goal is to avoid further movement and multiple applications in the EU. Therefore an asylum application can be rejected as inadmissible, if the person seeking protection entered from a so-called safe third country. This is justified by the fact that the person seeking protection could already have found protection from political persecution in the so-called safe third country. Safe third countries include the states of the EU, Norway and Switzerland.
  • The only exceptions arefamily reunifications:
    Family reunification is an option for protection seekers who have close family members in another European country. This includes spouses or minor children and, in the case of unaccompanied minors, parents, siblings, uncles and aunts or grandparents.
  • As a consequence of these regulations EU-states at the external borders, such as Italy, Spain and Greece, have to support a large number of protection seekers without being adequately prepared or receiving adequate support from other EU-states. And asylum seekers are stuck in the border regions of Europe and are prevented from moving freely within Schengen area.
  • The responsibility for supporting protection seekers is thus shifted to a few states, even if humane care for those seeking protection is not guaranteed.
For more information on the Dublin III procedure, see Mobile Info Team: Dublin III (EN) an.
Asylum procedures

Despite European wide minimum standards for the implementation of asylum procedures, the procedures in the European states differ greatly.

On these pages you will find an overview of the asylum procedures in Greece, Italy and Germany:
The EU-Turkey-Deal

What is the EU-Turkey Agreement?
  • In March 2016, the so-called EU-Turkey Agreement came into force. The background to the agreement is that in 2015, a large number of people entered the EU through Turkey's borders with Greece. The EU wanted and wants to stop this and prevent people on the move from entering Greece through this migration route. Roughly summarized, the agreement states that Turkey should strengthen border protection and thus prevent protection seekers from continuing their journey to the EU. To that end, the EU has provided up to 6 million euros between 2016 and 2018 to improve the lives of protection seekers in Turkey.
  • Refugees without a claim to asylum in Greece, are to be deported from the Greek islands directly back to Turkey. During an initial examination of the responsibility for the asylum application, it is thus determined whether Turkey already offers the person sufficient protection. Since Turkey has been declared a safe third country under the EU-Turkey Agreement, asylum seekers must prove that Turkey is not a safe place for them. In return, the EU has committed to directly host one Syrian refugee from Turkey for every Syrian person deported from the Greek islands to Turkey.
  • In total, 2,140 people have been deported back to Turkey under the EU-Turkey agreement by the end of March 2020. Since March 2020, Turkey no longer accepts rejected asylum seekers.
For more information, see the Monthly Updates from UNHCR, e.g. Return from Greece to Turkey
(EN, March 2020)

Developments since February 2020:
  • In February 2020, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan announced that the Turkish border with Greece would be opened to people of the move. The reason given was lack of aid payments from the EU.
  • The reaction of Greece, supported by the EU, was militarizing the border and suspending the right to asylum for one month.
  • Many people who arrived in Greece during this period were and are being deported back to Turkey without protection under the rule of law.
You can find more information on the developments in Greece in the period February 2020- June 2020 in this brochure: Broschüre: Stop War On Migrants (EN & GR)
Also recommended is the MONITOR report "Refugees in Greece: Europe's breach of law at the external border"
(DE )

Balkanbruecke (2020): Die Balkanroute (DE)
Schwarze, T. (2017): Für Merkel funktioniert der Deal. (DE)
New Pact on Migration and Asylum 2020

What is the new Pact on Migration and Asylum?

The EU member states have agreed on a new migration and asylum pact in autumn 2020, which is to reform European asylum policy and, according to its own statements, establish "improved and faster procedures throughout the asylum and migration system". The migration pact, which is still under discussion, is presented as a "European solution" and is intended to contribute to a better division of responsibilities. The EU Commission thus wants to put an end to the conflict between the member states that has been smouldering for years.

But what are the biggest changes to the current procedures?
  • The EU is giving individual states more power to control people entering the country. According to the plan, member states will be allowed to check people entering the country much more extensively than before in a preliminary check at the border, fingerprints will be taken and health and security checks will be carried out.
  • Asylum applications from people from countries with a very low recognition rate are to be decided within a maximum of 12 weeks and a quick return (deportation) is to be guaranteed.
  • This does not change anything about the accommodation in camps such as Moria, and this is also not planned.
  • Recognised asylum seekers are to be distributed across the EU, but not on the basis of a mandatory quota. Instead, there is to be a multi-level system, which primarily consists of financial incentives for the member states: for instance 10,000 euros per refugee will be made available from the EU budget and 12,000 for underage refugees.
  • If member states are no longer able to take care of refugees, a certain number will be taken over by other states.
  • Furthermore, the EU wants to deport refugees more quickly and ‘efficiently’. With the construct of "deportation sponsorship", states assume responsibility for the deportation of rejected protection seekers from other countries. This can also mean accepting them in their own state, only to deport them from there.
  • Little has changed in the "Dublin procedure" described above. The only change is that refugees who have close relatives who work, study or have worked in an EU country can apply for asylum there.


The Asylum Pact is strongly criticised, especially by Southern European member states and NGOs:
  • Refugees are increasingly disenfranchised and denied the right to a fair asylum procedure. The accelerated border procedure prevents fair asylum procedures at the borders, as no individual reasons for flight can be examined. If a refugee comes from a so-called "safe" country of origin the probability that the application will be rejected within 12 weeks without an individual examination and that deportation will be ordered is very high.
  • Long registration processes can also lead to further overcrowded reception centres and camps. During border procedures, protection seekers are considered not to have entered the EU, which is why they are housed in closed centres. For more than 6 months they can be detained under detention conditions and without access to legal advice
  • The focus of the European asylum system seems to be shifting further from reception of protection seekers to deportations and detention.
  • Countries like Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta, where the majority of refugees first set foot on European soil, are not really relieved. They continue to be left alone, while northern EU states can evade responsibility.

For more information, watch this MONITOR report: "EU Migration Pact: Injustice as Law"
(DE )
For more information, watch this video of Border Violence Monitoring Border Who does the EU’s Migration Pact Really Benefit?
(EN )

Europäische Kommission (2020): Pressemitteilung (DE)
Flüchtlingsrat Baden-Württemberg (2020): Überblick zum neuen Asyl- und Migrationspaket der EU (DE)
Tagesschau (2020): Menschenverachtend oder gute Basis? (DE)
Tagesschau (2020): Was steht im EU-Migrationspakt? (DE)
Mediendienst Integration (2020): EU-Migrationspakt steht in Kritik (DE)

  • Frontex is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and has been in operation since 2004 to support European member states in their border management.
  • Initially a small agency based in Poland, it has become one of the largest agencies in the EU. Its budget has increased by 7,560% since 2005 to 5.6 trillion for the years 2021-2027. Frontex has its own staff as well as officers provided by member states.
  • The agency works at Europe's external borders, for example in Greece, the Western Balkans, Spain and Italy. It is also one of the main coordinators of deportations from the EU and cooperates with more than 20 non-European countries as part of the European externalisation policy (outsourcing of responsibility for migration control to third countries). This includes the training of the so-called Libyan coast guard, which is repeatedly criticised for human rights violations
  • Frontex uses a narrative about migration and border management in which migrants are often portrayed as a danger, which supports and reproduces racist and nationalist views on migration.
  • Frontex is increasingly criticised. There are repeated reports ofdirect and indirect involvement in illegal push-backs and violence against migrants: Frontex officials are said to have witnessed push-backs in the Aegean Sea by the Greek coast guard and Frontex ships have also been involved in push-backs in the Aegean Sea. According to reports from the civilian sea rescue organisation Sea-Watch, the EU agency is also involved in pullbacks to Libya in the central Mediterranean: Frontex's aerial reconnaissance aircraft refuses to cooperate with NGOs and cooperates predominantly with the so-called Libyan coast guard to have protection seekers brought back to Libya.
  • In addition, the agency is criticised for its lack of human rights monitoring capabilities. It is very difficult for people who experience rights violations by Frontex to take the agency to court. Moreover, the direct and indirect involvement in push-backs shows that even internal control mechanisms of the agency are not sufficient to guarantee the protection of human rights.

Read more here:

Pro Asyl (2020): Beteiligung von Frontex und deutschen Einsatzkräften an Pushbacks muss Konsequenzen haben (DE)
Pro Asyl (2020): Frontex - eine Grenzschutzagentur der Superlative? (DE)
Abolish Frontex (2021):What is Frontex? (EN)
Sea-Watch (2021):Crimes of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex in the Central Mediterranean Sea (EN)

Regional focus: The Mediterranean and the Balkan region

Regional focus: The Mediterranean & the Balkan region

The Mediterranean and the Balkan region play a special role for protection and asylum seekers in Europe for geographical and political reasons (see Dublin III procedure), as most of them are (forced to) stay here. Most likely, your project will also be in the Balkan or Mediterranean region. Therefore, we have compiled some information about the specifics and the situation on the ground.
Sea rescue operations in the Mediterranean

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Mediterranean Sea is currently the deadliest border in the world. According to IOM estimates, nearly 1,900 people died or are considered missing while fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea in 2019. More than ⅔ of them have died or are considered missing on the central Mediterranean route (to Italy and Malta). In the absence of safe escape routes, many people are trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean despite this immense danger. A European solution to this state-created humanitarian catastrophe is not in sight, because there are no rescue operations by the competent European institutions and also no legal escape routes to Europe.

IOM (2017): New Study Concludes Europe’s Mediterranean Border Remains 'World’s Deadliest'. (EN)
Missing Migrants (2020): Tracking deaths along migratory routes. (EN)

Which organizations are responsible for sea rescue in which region?
  • In the western Mediterranean(to Spain), the governmental "Sociedad de Salvamento y Seguridad Marítima" from Spain is primarily responsible for rescuing refugees.
  • In the eastern Mediterranean sea(via Turkey to Greece), units of the Greek and Turkish coast guards and the European Frontex operation "Poseidon" work together in sea rescue.
  • In the central Mediterranean (from sub-Saharan Africa to Italy and Malta), protection seekers are currently frequently 'rescued' from distress at sea by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard. In the process, protection seekers are brought back to Libya, where they are detained for "illegal immigration." The numerous human rights violations against protection seekers in Libya have been known for years. The EU's cooperation with Libya forces refugees to stay in a country where their human rights are obviously violated. Occasionally, the Tunisian coast guard also rescues refugees from distress at sea. In addition to the patrols of the Italian coast guard, however, it is primarily civil search and rescue organizations, such as Sea-Watch, Mission-Lifeline or Sea-Eye, that rescue people seeking protection in this area. In doing so, they have to contend with immense repression from EU states. They are accused of smuggling or human trafficking, which is why they are repeatedly detained in ports. After rescuing refugees, they are often not allowed access to ports.

Mediendienst Integration (2020): Europäische Asylpolitik und Grenzschutz.

You can find more information and current figures on the following pages:
The hotspot-system and its consequences for people on the move

In 2015, the EU established so-called hotspots at the EU's southern external borders. The aim was to register all arriving asylum seekers at these hotspots. For this purpose, the national border authorities and employees of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) work together.

Hotspots in Greece and Italy

Five hotspots have been established on the Greek islands (Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Leros and Kos). Refugees who are registered in the hotspots have to stay on the islands for the time being. During this time, a decision is made whether they can be deported back to Turkey under the EU-Turkey agreement or apply for asylum in Greece.

Four hotspots have been established in Italy (Lampedusa, Pozzallo, Taranto and Trapani). Here, refugees are divided into two groups after registration:
Asylum seekers who are placed in a reception center (CARA) or in an emergency shelter (CAS), where they can apply for asylum.
Alleged "economic refugees" who are detained in a "departure center" (CIE) and deported.

Criticism and consequences for protection seekers:
Since its introduction, the hotspot system has been criticized. Especially the living conditions in the Greek hotspots are inhumane.
  • The hotspots do not serve as temporary registration centers with subsequent onward travel to mainland Greece or redistribution to other EU member states as originally planned. Instead, the hotspots have become overcrowded detention centers.
  • This is also a consequence of the EU-Turkey agreement, as well as the fact that several EU member states refuse to accept refugees. Most people arriving on the Greek islands have to stay in the hotspots for several years until their asylum application is processed. As a result, more and more people are trapped on the Greek islands, the camps are chronically overcrowded, and living conditions continue to worsen.
  • According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 7,500 people seeking protection (as of July 2021) are currently living in camps on the Greek islands. The threat of a COVID-19 outbreak and the imposed curfews have further exacerbated the situation.
For the latest figures, see the UNHCR documents.
More information about the developments in Greece in the period February 2020 - June 2020 can be found in this brochureStop War On Migrants (EN & GR)
Further recommended readings (DE): “Der Moria Komplex - Verantwortungslosigkeit, Unzuständigkeit und Entrechtung fünf Jahre nach dem EU-Türkei-Abkommen und der Einführung des Hotspot-Systems” von Maximilian Pichl

Sources: Mediendienst Integration (2020): Europäische Asylpolitik und Grenzschutz.
UNHCR (2021): Aegean Islands Weekly Snapshot 19.-25. July 2021.
The Balkan Region

  • Every year, tens of thousands of refugees still try to reach Western Europe via one of the Balkan national borders in search of protection. Even after the increasing closure of Europe's external borders, in particular the official closure of the so-called Balkan route in March 2016, the countries of the Balkan region are still transit countries (i.e. countries of passage) for many people on the move.
  • In March 2020, almost 20,000 people seeking protection were registered by UNHCR in the Balkan region, 96% of them in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • In addition to these main transit countries, Croatia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania and Romania are also transit countries in the Balkan region. The living conditions for people seeking protection vary depending on the country and camp. Moreover, some of the people on the move in the region do not live in official camps or shelters.
  • Since the border closures, border crossings in the Balkan region have become increasingly dangerous. There are increasing reports of violent and illegal pushbacks (i.e. people are sent back near the border or from the interior of the country without being able to apply for asylum), mistreatment and racist attacks in the region.
  • Human rights organisations such as Pro Asyl have long criticised the Croatian border police, for example, for systematically preventing people on the move from fleeing to the EU, denying them the right to asylum and forcibly pushing them back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many people on the move risk their lives on these dangerous routes because of the lack of prospects.


  • According to UNHCR, there were 6,179 refugees and asylum seekers in Serbia in June 2020.
  • An estimated 400-500 refugees are staying in northern Serbia outside official shelters (as of July 2020) In reality, this number is likely to be much higher, as many refugees stay outside the camps near the borders, especially during the summer months. These numbers are lower than in many other countries, which means low media coverage and awareness.
  • According to official figures, 20 people have died inside Serbia in 2019 while trying to cross the border. However, experts estimate that the number of unreported cases is much higher. This is due to the fact that survivors of failed attempts to cross one of the borders usually do not go to the police.
  • Every day, on average, several hundred people are returned to Serbia in violation of international law at the borders with Croatia and Hungary alone. In June 2020 alone, 579 people were affected by push-backs from Hungary and 1,147 people

Here you can get more information:

Stojić Mitrović, M.; Ahmetašević, N.; Beznec, B. und Kurnik, A. (2020): The Dark Sides of Europeanisation. Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Border Regime.
ProAsyl (2020): Türsteher Kroatien: Brutale Menschenrechtsverletzungen im Namen Europas.
UNHCR (2020): South Eastern Europe. Operational Portal. Refugee Situations.

Political and social situation

Social situation of refugees and living conditions in the camps

As a result of the EU's efforts to reduce migration movements to Europe and to keep asylum applications at the lowest level possible, the majority of people on the move in Europe find themselves in a situation that is not only very precarious but also extremely hopeless.

They are increasingly met with resentment or even racist violence from the local population. In addition, many people seeking protection often find themselves in a waiting loop of official appointments, applications and decisions, which usually drags on for several years. And in quite a few cases, deportation awaits them at the end of this draining process. Because the process of applying for asylum is so arduous and lengthy, asylum seekers sometimes have to remain in the camps assigned to them for several years. At the same time, the living conditions of the refugees vary not only from country to country, but even from camp to camp.

The following aspects can have an influence on living conditions in the camps:
Housing and sanitation:

The forms of accommodation of asylum seekers in Europe range from larger halls, which are only separated by ceilings, to tents and containers, to blocks of flats and decentralized accommodation. Aspects such as the number, equipment, and maintenance of sanitary facilities are decisive factors that can influence not only the well-being but also the health of the residents of a camp. The possibility of privacy as well as the location of the sanitary facilities also determine the vulnerability and the feeling of safety - especially of girls and women. The living situation in camps in particular makes it impossible to adhere to protective measures such as physical isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why people seeking protection are repeatedly exposed to an increased risk of infection.
Financial support

The financial support of refugees is regulated differently in each country. In Greece, for example, refugees who are registered in a camp receive a so-called cash card. With this, they can withdraw a certain amount each month, which is measured according to the size of their family. However, this amount is so tight that it is sufficient for the most basic needs, but people have to rely on support from non-profit organizations and projects for further purchases (clothing, household items, etc.).

Food supplies can vary greatly from camp to camp. While in some camps people have the opportunity to cook for themselves, in other camps this is prohibited and they are provided with packaged meals on a daily basis, most of which contain little nutrition. In some cases, the food supply is also provided by humanitarian organizations or projects.
Location of the camp and freedom of movement:

The location of the camp is very decisive for the freedom of movement or the possibility to stay outside the camp. For example, if the camp is located far away from the nearest major city its residents usually have to pay a lot of money for public transportation. Asylum seekers are dependent on good and cheap transport connections, as they have to appear for numerous appointments at various authorities. But also in order to take advantage of the support services offered by organizations, many refugees have to travel several hours from their remote camps. The location of the camps can thus also have an enormous impact on the opportunities for social participation. Imposed curfews during the COVID-19 pandemic further restrict already severely limited freedom of movement.
Access by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and projects:

Whether and to what extent external organizations and projects have access to camps can greatly influence the nature of the camp, the living conditions of its residents, and the opportunities for activities and participation. In many cases, access has now been severely restricted. If a camp is completely closed off from any external access, little to no information about the conditions in the camp will reach the public. However, it should not go unmentioned that not every aid project promises to improve living conditions in the camp. In the past, some projects were well-intentioned, but they were not designed for sustainability or longevity, were abandoned, or proceeded in an ill-considered manner thus raising false hopes. Well-intentioned projects can still cause disappointment and damage.
Conflict potential:

The composition of the residents of a camp can determine the general mood and the potential for conflict. It can happen, for example, that people from ethnic, religious or national groups who are at war with each other in their country of origin suddenly have to live in the same neighborhood. This can sometimes lead to (violent) conflicts. However, most refugees cannot leave or change their camps at their own discretion. In Greece, for example, they lose their entitlement to the cash card as soon as they leave the camp for the long term. Thus, if conflicts or violent clashes occur, they are faced with the choice of continuing to expose themselves to risk or losing their entitlement to the Cash Card.
This is only a selection of aspects that influence the living conditions of people seeking protection in camps. It quickly becomes clear that there is no "one" camp. Moreover, many refugees do not have access to a camp for various reasons and live on the streets or in abandoned buildings. These people live in the most precarious conditions. With the exception of some projects, they do not receive any kind of support. Due to the poor living conditions, they are more susceptible to parasites and pathogens, and in many cases are met with arbitrary police violence.

Points that you should take into consideration for your work: Is the project responsible for a specific camp, does it serve several camps in the region, or is it an offer that is sought out by the refugees themselves in a central location? What kind of camps and compositions of people are involved? What potential conflicts are possible and must be considered in the work?

Political and Social Situation in Host Countries

As an international volunteer or activist you should be familiar with the political and social circumstances of the country you are working in. A feeling for the country and the local population can help you to find your way around and to place your work in the regional context. Therefore, try to inform yourself a little about the country, the region, the politics and the society in advance.

Important questions can be:

  • What is the political and social situation of the country you want to work in?
  • Who is currently in government?
  • What are the current political and social conflicts in the country/region?
  • How are public debates about the topics of migration, flight and solidarity-based support work shaping up?

Example: Greece

  • EU member states like Greece are still suffering from the consequences of the financial and euro crisis in 2007 and 2010 respectively and the imposed austerity measures. In addition, there are losses in the tourism sector due to high numbers of arriving protection seekers in 2015-2016 and also the Corona pandemic.
  • Especially if we come from privileged EU member states like Germany, we should reflect on the living conditions and social realities on the ground as well as our own position as international volunteers in this context.
  • As a comparison, Greece has an unemployment rate of about 14.4% (as of May 2020) and youth unemployment rate of 32.4%. In Germany, the unemployment rate is only 3.9% and the youth unemployment rate is 5.4%. In Greece, moreover, state support for the people in need is not guaranteed in the same way as in Germany, and many unemployed Greeks are also dependent on support from non-profit organizations and their families.

Statista (2020): Europäische Union. Jugendarbeitslosenquoten in den Mitgliedsstaaten im Juni 2020. Statista (2020): Europäische Union. Jugendarbeitslosenquoten in den Mitgliedsstaaten im Juni 2020.
Statista (2020): Europäische Union. Arbeitslosenquoten in den Mitgliedsstaaten im Juni 2020. Statista (2020): Europäische Union. Arbeitslosenquoten in den Mitgliedsstaaten im Juni 2020.

Stay informed!

Where and how can you stay up to date?

In the (mainstream) media, there is less and less coverage of the situation of people on the move in Europe and the European border region. Here you can get updated information:

Regular to daily updates on policies, practices and events at Europe's borders:
Information for people on the move:

Documentation of illegal push-backs and border violence:
Other interesting organizations and links:
Questions? Critical feedback? Ideas? Additions?
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