During a lecture organised by Europe Direct University, Prof. Michelle Pace presented her forthcoming edited volume on Syrian refugee children in Europe and the Middle East: Integrating the young and exiled. Prof Pace started by emphasizing that this edited volume is premised on the underlying conception of refugee children as not merely a vulnerable contingent of the displaced Syrian population, but one that possesses a certain agency for change and progress. She argued that since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, Syrian refugee children have withstood violence, uncertainty, fear, trauma and loss. She then explained how all the contributors to this edited volume follow the journeys of these minors by reflecting on how to make their situation better and to get this knowledge to as many front liners – across European and neighbouring countries in the Middle East - as possible. For Michelle what we are experiencing is actually a European crisis and an ethical crisis rather than a “refugee or migration crisis”.
By focusing on her own contribution (to the edited volume) and the EU-Turkey deal she acknowledged that the EU finds itself in a long lasting moral conundrum when dealing with, on the one hand, what has been the most pressing issue for European citizens since the first half of 2016 (the impact of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Europe) and, on the other hand, its ethical and legal obligations - and those of its member states - under the UN convention on the rights of the child. Taking this conundrum into account how is it possible that the EU signed this deal with Erdogan (whose authoritarian leanings have been on the increase since the attempted coup of July 2016)?