The European Commission has recently funded a large new research project in which Utrecht University’s Ethics Institute participates.
An interdisciplinary research team will investigate how the recent so-called ‘refugee crisis’ has influenced the self-understanding of the EU and its member states. The project also aims to develop an ethically justified view regarding refugees, and to clarify the duties European institutions have in a globalized world and with regard to global conflicts.
Citizens of the EU have been much concerned about the number of refugees arriving via the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Concerns relate to security, economic impact and preserving national and cultural identities. Debates about ‘European values’ have emerged. Isn’t it part of these values to assist refugees? At the same time, refugees are often expected to conform to European values. Yet what are those values? Why talk of ‘European’ values at all? Aren’t human rights at the core of the EU’s moral and political identity?