This evening is dedicated to the concept borders and its consequences. What do our European borders actually look like? Do our border policies fit with the reality and aspirations of today’s world? On November 9th 1989 a group of citizens started to break down the infamous Berlin wall. This act of civil disobedience opened the way to the idea of a borderless Europe, built on peace, prosperity and Human Rights. But two decades later, the ongoing refugee crisis puts a strain on this ideal. It reveals Europe’s internal tensions and paradoxical behaviours regarding border policies and Human Rights.
New walls, named anti-immigration barriers, are being erected within Europe. More than 114 million euros will be allocated to Frontex, the EU’s external border agency, in order to track migrants who try to enter the Schengen area. These measures are associated with state repression against refugees, fed by nationalist discourse and immigration phobia.
All this seems hardly compatible with the universality of Human Rights, peace and freedom of movement values that gave rise to the European Union. So we wonder what is lying behind the concept of borders. What are the effects of being born on one or the other side of a border? What do our European borders actually look like? Do our border policies fit with the reality and aspirations of today’s world?
Some say Europe is collapsing, but we think this moment is crucial to open up the debate on this issue. During this evening we will bring together different thinkers who, within their own field of knowledge (research, art, journalism and activism), will re-frame the notion of borders. Can we, by the end of the evening, trigger a citizen-based movement towards a new border paradigm?