After the Fence

Approaches and attitudes about migration in Central Eastern Europe


After the Fence

Republikon Intézet

The migration crisis in 2015 was a real game changer not just in Central Europe, but in the whole European Union and also in the United States. The crisis, the fear from refugees triggered indirectly the Brexit and it was also a serious issue during the 2016 US presidential election campaign. The pictures of refugees walking by foot on a Hungarian highway towards Austria appeared in one of Donald Trump’s campaign videos as well. But not just images went viral during the crisis. Alongside of the general confusion, fear and feeling of uncertainty also the techniques and issues of the populist right intensified and diffused. After the peak of the crisis, in the 2016 it seemed that the new political cleavage will be run between globalist and sovereignists. The former club refers to humanitarian duties while the latter to national sovereignty. During the US presidential campaign became this dichotomy especially visible and crucial. For populist politicians however, not merely migration is an issue, but the assumed “background” forces, which wish to push migrants toward wealthier countries. With this narrative trick the migration can be presented not just a global challenge but part of conspiracy in which also domestic parties, that is the adversaries of the populist politician are involved. However, with the migration issue populist politicians also aim to demonstrate their willingness to act for the interests of the people, unlike the establishment. Exactly this momentum, political agency is a central point of the populist narrative: action is needed to defend national sovereignty, while action is only possible on the ground of national sovereignty and not through international institutions like the European Union.


The whole publication is available HERE.