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Liquid Empire
How migration might change Europe

Florian Hertweck, Can Onaner, Ivonne Weichold, "Liquid Empire: How Migration Changes Europe", University of Luxembourg, 2017

Since Europe is confronted by a massive vague of expulsed emigrants, it closes its border and proclaims itself an introverted continent. The rising populist movements, which gain more and more support even in the most liberal territories, push the disoriented European governments to query the Schengen agreement of free movement on the European ground.

Representative for the substantial crisis of what has been idealistically called European Union, this reactionary tendency calls for a narrative like great European protagonists have always submitted to the public opinion, whether it would be utopian or dystopian.

The buffer zones in Turkey, Greece or southern Italy, in which the migration flows of banished people are concentrated and which are considered as a political anchor to exclude the problem out of our vision, could be the starting point of a new European configuration.
Buffer zones immobilize in the periphery of a state mobilized people who have lost their own state. The border is no longer a plain legal line nor an impenetrable wall, but rather a space in its own: autonomous, hanging between two separate worlds, even with an unstable legal status.
At another scale, the whole Turkish territory is being used today by the European Union as a huge buffer zone to enclose the refugees that are not welcomed in the European public sphere.

As the flows of emigrants will never stop and the European governments will not change their unchristian policy, these buffer zones will continue to become more and more important in terms of surface and population. Before a general implosion they will widen on the continent, invade all the borders of the former nations-states which will themselves shrink more and more. Once Erdogan has reinforced his agreement with Putin and betrayed the European pact, the intra-European borders will stiffen and thus create peripheral buffer-spaces where millions of mostly young and motivated people will be pushed off.

Conceding the failure of the public European institutions, it is now up to the civil society to stand up as a guarantor of human rights for which the Member-States did not assume any responsibility. In this context the refugees joined by local dissidents will try to concentrate forces in the fight. The social conflicts – internal to occidental societies – will inevitably find a common ground within the refugees’ struggle for a new and better existence.
Supported by this convergence principle, the buffer zones which are located at the intra-European borders will then communicate with each other and constitute a continuous space: a complex and dense network spread over the whole European continent and yet linked to Africa and the Middle-East similar to Hermann Sörgels transeuropean fantasies.
This network consisting of refugees, European dissidents and migrants coming from all over the world will become an independent continuously changing system which will considerably transform the European territories. The liquid empire will either divide the existing nations or re-create larger preexisting entities.

What originally looked like a marginal outlying area will gradually become central and free.

The marginal will become the standard transforming the ageing European States into floating islands in the middle of a mobile ocean where refugees, dissidents and migrants will push back the borders of their spaces due to their vital power.

The archipelago of island-countries will be nothing but ancient relics, “nursing homes” for exhausted people, recreation parks and romanticist facilities for mass tourism sporadically invaded by inhabitants of the liquid empire, or in parallel vast simulative territories for neo-patriots, racists and other reactionary people dreaming of preceding centuries.

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