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Cracks in the Continent: The Refugee Crisis and the Rise of the Far Right in Europe

PDF of My Master's Thesis


In Europe, a growing humanitarian crisis is occurring as millions of Middle Eastern refugees stream into the continent. The refugee crisis is rapidly increasing to a breaking point as many countries refuse to burden share the influx of over a million people. The countries that are participating need help from the other European Union members, but are not receiving it. Hungary has built a border fence to prevent the entry of refugees and sends those who do enter on to other countries. Germany is attempting to be a leader in the crisis and has accepted several hundred thousand refugees already, but it is not enough. Politicians tout anti-refugee rhetoric that refugees are an economic drain. However, many studies have shown that refugees are actually a great source of economic resources for the countries they resettle in. If this is true, why then are countries like Hungary refusing to accept refugee resettlement? I argue that histories of isolationism and homogenous demographics lead to nativist sentiments and widespread systemic racism against the Middle Eastern predominantly Muslim refugees. By letting this racism continue on unchecked, discord and strife in the EU will only grow, as evidenced by the UK’s recent Brexit vote.

Keywords: Refugees, Refugee Resettlement, Hungary, Racism, Germany, United Kingdom, European Union, Brexit

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