Europe's Next Problem: The European Union's Need for Reform of the Asylum and Refugee Reception Policy in Light of the Arab Spring Refugees

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Mandry, Grace
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The evolution of this project began my sophomore spring-when I took Dr. Amy Elman's European Union class. Throughout the quarter we discussed the various forms of integration throughout the European Union and the various factors that led to the resulting policy. For my final project I gave a presentation and wrote a paper about the Syrian refugees who tried to reach Italy by way of rowboats across the Mediterranean Sea. At the time I was very interested in the lack of transparency of the asylum policy and how there did not seem to be one. A few months later, while I was on study abroad, I visited a friend studying abroad in Athens and we went to an immigrant rights protest with one of her professors. He gave us a brief history of strikes in Athens, and showed us around the immigrant neighborhood of the city. During this tour we visited a Greek version of a soup kitchen. The administrator of the facility talked to us about the demographics of the everyday visitors. I was surprised to realize that a large group of these migrants were ones who had fled the Arab Spring conflicts. At the protest some of the signs called on the Greek government to provide resources to the refugees from North Africa, as the professor told us. The signs were all written in Greek, so I was not able to read the writing for myself. When I got back to Kalamazoo in Spring of 2012, I would frequently look for New York Times articles about the Arab Spring refugees. I was surprised to find that this topic was not very popular and therefore only came up once or twice a week. After looking over the sophomore year paper from the European Union class, I decided to write my Senior Individualized Project on the asylum and refugee reception policy of the European Union and the effect it has on the Arab Spring refugees.
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