“Should Europe shut the door on immigration?” / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

“Should Europe shut the door on immigration?”

A debate of Intelligence Squared Greece at the OCC

28 February 2013
Main Stage
12 € | Concs 7 €
In collaboration with the BBC World News and the Onassis Cultural Centre, Intelligence Squared Greece is staging a singularly topical debate on Europe’s economy, politics and society.

Almost 10% of the inhabitants of the European Union do not live in the country in which they were born—a percentage that equates to over 37 million people [1].

Although Europe is now entering its eighth year of economic crisis, the waves of immigration from Asia and Africa continue unabated. Even though the economies of Western Europe are dependent to a significant extent on the labour these immigrants provide, they are finding it hard to strike the sort of social and economic balance that would allow for their induction and integration.

Like the other countries on Europe’s fringes, Greece is facing its own set of challenges. Human traffickers from home and abroad continue to exploit Greece’s inability to effectively patrol its borders, and immigrants pour over its porous borders every day. Indeed, according to Frontex, nine out of ten immigrants who enter Europe illegally do so via Greece. Moreover, the conditions facing immigrants in Greece continue to worsen, including ever more common instances of racist violence. In short, Greece, a country in the depths of economic crisis, is being called upon to face up to a number of critical questions relating both to the management of its borders and to its relationship with Europe.

Is European immigration desirable, or even essential? What role do immigrants play in the European economy? Are they a burden on enterprises and the state, or a key factor in European economic development? Could Europe close its borders to immigrants? Are countries on the fringes of Europe, like Greece, under an obligation to police their own borders, or should the responsibility be shared among all the nations of Europe?

[1] According to Eurostat, 2010.


Speaking for the motion:
• Douglas Murray, author, director of the Henry Jackson Society
• Makis Voridis, MP, former Minister for Infrastructure, Transportation and Networks

Speakers against the motion:
• Bernard Kouchner, former Foreign Minister of France, co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde
• Antigone Lyberaki, Professor of Economics at Panteion University, Board member of ActionAid Greece

Chair: Nik Gowing, journalist with BBC World News

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For more information, answers to your questions and further clarification, contact Intelligence Squared on 210-3310213 or at rsvp@iq2.gr (Ms Ileana Ismyridi).

The event will be broadcast on BBC World to an audience of 80 million. The debate will be conducted in English, with simultaneous translation into Greek.