Europe has been faced with a huge migration crisis due to a mass migration flow from war-torn Middle Eastern and North African countries since 2011. In fact, members of the European Union had already started to reconsider their immigration policies with the increasing presence of North African migrants in the EU member states causing European citizenry to perceive migrants as a burden on their economies and a threat to their security. This reconsideration came particularly after the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. and the following Al-Qaeda bombings in Madrid (2004) and London (2005). The migration issue, which has since evolved into a “terror threat” from once being a perceived cultural threat, had already been accepted as an issue of national security and part of high politics in the EU when it was included as the fourth pillar of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) in 2005.
In the period of political turmoil and homegrown violence that ensued from the Arab Spring of 2011, the Mediterranean became a mass grave for many refugees who risked life and limb traveling across its waters with prospects of a more secure life in Europe. This new wave of migration flow from the EU’s southern neighbors not only led to discussions on the necessity of a real common migration policy for the EU with the appropriate tools to regulate the flow of migrants -- including visa quotas distributed among EU states -- as well as a willingness to share responsibility for the settlement of refugees and an acceptance of refugee claims, but also reopened the debate on the integration of immigrants into their societies.