1 Introduction in:

Angelika C. Dankert

Europe under Pressure, page 1 - 2

The Development of the European Union under the Influence of the Arab Spring, the Refugee Crisis and the Global Threat of Terrorism

1. Edition 2017, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-3971-7, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-6688-1,

Series: Wissenschaftliche Beiträge aus dem Tectum Verlag: Rechtswissenschaften, vol. 93

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
Introduction The tragedy of World War II led to the creation of the European Union, still in its infancy in the 1950 s, but throughout the years continuously developing to an economically and politically integrated supranational entity. In its construction, the Single Market is unique worldwide, offering its citizens free movement within a borderless Union. The European consciousness of being ‘united in diversity’ is based on common European roots, however, the effects of globalization impact the ‘European district’ as part of 21st century’s ‘global village.’ The consequences of the self-immolation of a Tunisian salesman in December 2010 were unpredictable. The incident, which was primarily seen as an isolated act of protest against local authorities after humiliating treatment and the interdiction to continue selling his vegetables on the market, can be declared as trigger for a movement referred to as ‘Arab Spring,’ leading to a massive spill-over effect within the Arab world. By questioning the legitimacy of the leading class, aspirations for freedom and democracy were embraced in the created unity of pan-Arab sentiments. The echo of protest roared across countries dominated by autocratic regimes, resulting in ‘an end for the era of longstanding dictators like Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (Tunisia) and Muammar Al Gaddafi (Libya)’ (Campante/Chor, 2012). The escalation and destabilization in Syria as result of the Arab Spring, the development of religious militant groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as well as the turmoil and ongoing conflict in the Arab World, are issues now omnipresent within the Single Market. Globalization has affected the rapidness of data exchange, and terrorist organizations have perfected psychological warfare using the media and plenty of their advantages to recruit online. The threat of religiously oriented terror, formerly perceived a ‘Middle Eastern’ issue, has now entered the Union’s borders. The anonymity and perceived coincidence of this new conduct of war frightens a secular, pluralistic and open society founded on the ideals of peace and stability. The last years, and especially 2015, were characterized by a massive influx of migrants crossing the Union’s external borders seeking for asylum. The unpredictability and intensity of even secondary movements caused Europe’s citizens’ fear of getting swamped, resulting in member states’ sealing off or reintroduced border controls. Striving for humanitarian aid, the EU is accused of neglecting the interests of its own citizens, which leads to gradually growing right-wing parties at the national level, inciting and provoking hatred between cultures, religions and ethnical backgrounds. Illegal migration, fear of unemployment, exploitation of social welfare systems, foreign infiltration and increased terrorist attacks shape the changed attitude towards foreigners, refugees and migrants in Europe. The European Union is on the move, and for predicting Europe’s future, it is essential to evaluate the EU’s handling of the cur- 1 1 rent situation and its probability to demonstrate closed unity in relation to the question of how to cope with the crisis. World and geopolitics are complicatedly intertwined, as conflicting interests of individuals, organizations and nations dominate and governmental decisions influence world citizens on an increasingly personal level. The current innovative digital era facilitates communication and exchange over large distances, yet it has no impact on global in-depth understanding of foreign cultures. Time shows that the created awareness of cross-cultural differences indicates the trend of a revival of own traditional values, and increasingly often the citizens’ will demonstrates a reversion from previously favored ‘global’ or ‘supranational’ into ‘national’ orientation. The paper is examining legal aspects as well as security and intercultural issues in order to provide an overall picture of the situation. It is necessary to profoundly understand the origin and development of the turmoil during the Arab Spring, its impact and influence on Europe as value community, continent and supranational entity. The ongoing crisis goes beyond the scope of humanitarian aid and responsibility for the life of the individual, as the impact of this crisis has far-reaching implications for the future of the Union as ‘Europe of tomorrow.’ Aiming to describe Europe’s future path, the paper will identify challenges for selected topics and offer recommendations. Sensitive issues will be addressed, as these rough times demand honesty and straight forwardness in order to provide sustainable solutions. Disclaimer: today’s intermingled geopolitics requires the examination of multiple aspects in order to draw conclusions. Especially in a pluralistic society, every perspective has to be objectively illuminated without prejudice to culture, religion or ethnical origin. The role of the West should not be underestimated in the rise and fall of Middle Eastern regimes and also in the development of terrorist organizations pursuing anti-Western propaganda. This paper is not about the apportionment of blame nor about recriminations, but about a display of the causes and drivers of the Arab Spring with lasting impact on the European Union, as well as an analysis of challenges the EU is facing as result of the refugee crisis and the increasingly global threat of terrorism. The Arab perspective on backgrounds, supporters and financiers of militant groups in the Middle East including affiliates is left out, however, the content of the investigation is not one-sided, nor in favor of a certain perspective. In contrast, the author aims to illuminate the issue from all angles in order to facilitate the reader’s understanding of the current topic. The research paper is not a political thesis, nor does it imply the expression of any opinion as political statement. Angelika C. Dankert, 30 January 2017 1 Introduction 2

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The past years were characterized by a massive influx of migrants crossing the Union’s external borders seeking asylum. Illegal migration, exploitation of social welfare systems, foreign infiltration and the instrumentalization of religion condensed in terror attacks determine today’s changed attitude towards foreigners, refugees and migrants and therefore strongly impact the current European political agenda.

Angelika C. Dankert describes the development of the EU and provides information on events that led to the creation and the spill-over of the Arab Spring. Roots and origin of Jihadist ideology as well as goals of religiously motivated terrorism are illustrated and European standards on morals and values are critically questioned. Through investigation of current matters in the field of law, security and interculturality, this book reveals the biggest geopolitical challenge of the 21st century.