The Geneva Debate - 3rd Edition
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This House Opposes EU's New Pact on Migration and Asylum

The Geneva Debate
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Auditorium Ivan Pictet , Maison de la paix

The Geneva Debate aims to continue being the city’s preeminent student debate on current affairs and global development. Keeping up with our annual tradition since 2021, this edition proposes the following motion, most critical to the EU today: "This House Opposes EU's New Pact on Migration and Asylum".

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We invite you to participate in an engaging war of words and wit:




Europe has been struggling to ethically manage the arrival and protection of asylum seekers for quite some years now. With heightened political pressure and the rise of hyper-nationalist sentiments, the EU’s Pact on Migration and Asylum will be adopted in the coming months after years of political deadlock. The negotiations for this deal began three years earlier as the arrival of asylum seekers fleeing war and ethnic conflict exposed severe gaps in the existing asylum frameworks. While politicians now are proud to have worked on a deal that is uniting Europe in strength to ease the ‘burden’ of migration, some experts believe it will set the continent decades back in its intentions. Will the obsession to protect its borders lead Europe to protect asylum seekers or will it lead to international duties conveniently ignored for political gain? An analysis of this new Pact will be telling. 


A ‘historic’ pact? 

Proponents of this new Pact celebrate the solidarity it creates among member states to share the number of people in need of protection, the acceleration of asylum procedures, strict surveillance, the use of biometrics, and the option to have migration externally managed through bilateral agreements. It gives member states the right to be flexible during times of crises, accept a certain number of asylum seekers, and pay into a joint EU fund. This middle ground is what is deemed the least displeasing approach to inland states and those on the frontiers of Europe.

However, those opposed to it predict that it will curtail the rights of asylum seekers, migrants, and refugees leaving them in even more precarious conditions due to its substandard procedures, vaguely defined terms, and options to securitize borders instead of protecting those who need it. This will lead to an increase in detention centres, pushback at the seas, and cruel hand-overs to third countries rather than dignified reception conditions. 

With the current state of affairs in the world, there does not seem to be a reduction in the number of people needing protection, which raises the question of the Pact’s efficacy.  How is it protecting an already vulnerable population? Is it time for origin countries to step up and take control? Will the outsourcing of asylum seekers be the next best step? Will the policy save the exchequer some euros or will they lose out from the fiscal contributions of migrants? The strength of the five regulations of this Pact will rest on its application in practice, not the rhetoric of its political agreement, and the coming years will put it to the test.

Keynote Speaker: Karolina Frischkopf - Chief of Staff, Swiss Red Cross.

Proposition Side: 

  • Unyime Eyi - MINT, Mobilities, Migrations and Borders Track
  • Dilraj Singh - LLM in International Law
  • Akshita Tiwary - LLM in International Law

Opposition Side:

  • Grecia Pillaca Burga - MINT, Human Rights and Humanitarianism
  • Celine Li - Master in Economics
  • Enver Peters - International Politics and History

Jury Panel:

  • Kathryn Kruglak - Walder Wyss
  • Thannaletchimy Housset - IDMC
  • Salvatore Lombardo - Geneva Graduate Institute / Sciences Po
  • Myrtle Cleona Priddy - Geneva Graduate Institute


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