Between Rights and Fear: Evaluating the Migration-Terrorism Nexus in Europe

A workshop on migration and terrorism will be held at the University of Bologna in June 2018. 

About the workshop

Over the past few years, the EU has experienced a significant surge in the inflow of migrants and refugees, one that has challenged the EU’s internal cohesion and has often been speciously used by populist and nationalist movements to fuel public concerns. At the same time, terrorist attacks have multiplied across Europe, some of them perpetrated by first or second generation immigrants claiming allegiance to Islamic fundamentalist groups. Despite all the efforts made by EU institutions to problematize the connection between migration and terrorism, the link is ever more immediately drawn within the public debate, with repercussions in the public perception of the two phenomena. The implications in terms of policy approaches, but also in the normative sphere, are manifold, and a deeper reflection on the precise terms of such implications is in order.
On a global level, ethical issues are raised not only by terrorist groups smuggling and trafficking migrants in view of a financial profit but also by the evidence that massive migration and terrorist radicalization may also be regarded as having some common roots in persistent global inequalities. Moreover, some of the measures undertaken to fight global terrorism have in fact generated more refugees. All these cases have important ethical implications and call for an attentive reflection on what may be considered a just response by the international/global community.

Roderick Parkes
Roderick Parkes, Senior Analyst at the European Union Institute for Security Studies, will be keynote speaker at the workshop. (Photo: Stephan Röhl, Heinrich -Böll-Stiftung)

There is no easy solution to the clash among differing justice claims, but a scholarly reflection on these issues might help us contribute to a more educated public and political debate, at both a regional and global level, and to some extent to contain the securitization trends that seem to inform the reactions to these phenomena, despite their being at variance with most justice criteria.

To discuss these topics, the University of Bologna Team of GLOBUS organizes a workshop at the University Centre of Bertinoro, on June 4-6, 2018. 


Monday, 4 June (Room: Church)

15.00 – 15.30 Welcome and introduction

Filippo Andreatta, Director of the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Bologna
Stefano Bianchini, Head of the Forlì Campus of the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Bologna
Sonia Lucarelli, GLOBUS Team leader, University of Bologna
Helene Sjursen, GLOBUS Coordinator, ARENA Centre for European Studies

15.30 – 16.30 Keynote speech

Roderick Parkes, Senior Analyst, European Union Institute for Security Studies

16.30 – 18.30 Round Table – The Migration-Terrorism Alleged Nexus and Global Justice.

Chair: Sonia Lucarelli, University of Bologna.
Marco Balboni, University of Bologna
Jeff Crisp, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford
Thomas Diez, GLOBUS Team leader, University of Tübingen
Sebastiano Maffettone, LUISS University Rome
Dario Melossi, University of Bologna

19.00 Aperitif on the terrace

20.00 Dinner

Tuesday, 5 July

(Room Jacopo da Bertinoro)

09.00 – 10.30 Paper Session – The EU, migration and terrorism – Part 1

Chair: Helene Sjursen, ARENA Centre for European Studies

The EU’s ‘fight against terrorism’: The threat of the ‘returning foreign fighter’, counter-terrorism and the securitization of migration, travel and border control, Christopher Baker-Beall, Nottingham Trent University

Testing the limits of the EU’s comprehensive approach to crisis management: the case of Syrian migrants, Nikola Tomic, University College Dublin

Migration and Terrorism in Europe: The Impact of Schengen, Sarah Léonard, Vesalius College, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Discussant: James Sperling, University of Akron

10.30 – 10.45 Coffee break

10.45 – 12.30 Paper Session – The EU, migration and terrorism – Part 2

Chair: Pundy Pillay, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Terrorism and the Securitization of Refugees in Europe, Christian Kaunert, University of South Wales

The Migration to the Jihad: The Mirror of the Desire, Wael Garnaoui, Paris Diderot University

The Migration-Terrorism Nexus in the West since the proclamation of the “caliphate”: An Empirical Analysis, Francesco Marone, ISPI, University of Pavia

Discussant: Ben Tonra, GLOBUS Team leader, University College Dublin

12.30 – 14.00 Lunch

14.00 – 15.30 Paper session – Securitizing migration at home – Part 1

Chair: Thomas Diez, University of Tübingen

Detention as a Field of Ambivalence: Radicalization and Deradicalization in the Italian Prison System, Alvise Sbraccia, University of Bologna

Terrorists in America: Imported or ‘Made in America’?, Jim Sperling, University of Akron

Fear and Exclusion: the securitisation of Rohingya refugees in India, Jessica Field, Jindal Global University

Discussant: Michela Ceccorulli, University of Bologna

15.30 – 15.45 Coffee Break

15.45 – 17.45 The view of the stakeholders

Chair: Sonia Lucarelli, University of Bologna

Federico Soda, International Organisation for Migrations

Michele Tarlao, Head of the Italian State Police trade union (Silp-CGIL)

Leonello Gabrici, European External Action Service, Director of the division Migration and Human Security

20.00 Dinner

Wednesday, 6 June (Room Jacopo da Bertinoro)

9.00 – 10.30 Paper Session – Securitizing migration at home – Part 2

Chair: Antonio Zotti, University of Bologna

When the opposites attract. The relationship between foreign policy and the migration-terrorism nexus in the French far right and radical left discourse, Silvia D’Amato, University of Florence

Positional insecurity and the attack to the ideas of global justice in Hungary, Attila Melegh and Anna Vancso, Corvinus University of Budapest.

Discussant: Enrico Fassi, Catholic University Milan

10.30 – 10.45 Coffee break

10.45 – 12.45 Round Table – Maritime Operations in the Mediterranean: Security and Human Rights Considerations

Chair: Marco Borraccetti, University of Bologna

Giorgio Grappi, University of Bologna

Giorgia Linardi, Legal Adviser and Mission Coordinator for External Relations, Sea-Watch

Ben Tonra, University College Dublin

Alexandre Serrano, NATO Operation Sea Guardian

Ettore Socci, EU Operation Sophia (EUNAVFOR MED)

12.45 Lunch and departures


Participants from GLOBUS partner institutions are expected to cover their own travel expenses while the organizers will cover their local living expenses (meals and hotel). The other participants will have their expenses fully covered. 


The deadline for proposals has now passed. Please acknowledge that only a limited number of papers will be accepted due to space constraints in the workshop programme. Any questions should be directed to or

Deadline for paper circulation

The accepted participants should send the full paper to the organizers by May 15, 2018.

Tags: Migration
Published Oct. 23, 2017 5:41 PM - Last modified Mar. 21, 2018 11:37 AM