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Immigration is one of the most divisive issues in developed countries, being a substantive political matter in national elections. Rhetoric aside, it is immigration above other topics, that dominates debates – even if uniting the right and dividing the left.  While immigration attitudes have barely changed, the concern over immigration has become increasingly evident. Radical measures have been adopted across Europe on the pretext of safeguarding security – extraordinary times require extraordinary measures! From refugee bodies washing up on shores, to illegal EU pushbacks,  to building walls to contain irregular immigration,  to creating a hostile environment and labeling immigrants, to sending asylum seekers to Africa,  Europe is not only facing an immigration crisis but also, more worryingly, a deep political crisis.

At a workshop organized on February 9, 2024, at the CEU Democracy Institute in Budapest, Dimitry Kochenov (Professor, CEU; Senior Research Fellow, CEU Democracy Institute) and Elena Basheshka (Post-doctoral Research Fellow, CEU Democracy Institute) discussed their research tackling these matters.

They argued that the exclusion of immigrants is yet another issue that overlaps with the politics of citizenship. It is for states, and states alone, to choose who their citizens are even if such practices imply strict preference of certain categories of citizens over others or are introduced as a radical response to security concerns. Indeed, Kochenov and Basheshka argue, such choice depends on the aims to be achieved by states – be that to (re)establish relations with kin minorities beyond states’ borders as, for instance, in the case of Hungary, or to exclude the unwanted ones through citizenship deprivation, as in the case of the United Kingdom. Exclusions can run along any lines: geography of origin, race, religion, education, language, time, citizenship status, etc. – and a legal-historical example will be found.


📒 Input presentation by Dimitry Kochenov (Professor, CEU; Senior Research Fellow, CEU Democracy Institute) and Elena Basheshka (Post-doctoral Research Fellow, CEU Democracy Institute)

🗣️ Discussants: Alíz Nagy (Assistant Professor, ELTE Faculty of Social Sciences) and Boldizsár Nagy (Honorary Professor, ELTE Faculty of Law; Associate Professor, CEU)

🗣️ Chair: Bálint Mikola (Post-doctoral Research Fellow, CEU Democracy Institute)

The AUTHLIB consortium does not take collective positions. Views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or UK Research and Innovation. Neither the European Union nor the UK Research and Innovation can be held responsible for them.


Photo credit: Ajdin Kamber via Shutterstock

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