The significance of cultural and core values for the migration challenge

The fundamental values forming the foundation of the European Union are stated in and ensured by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union under the headings of dignity, freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizens' rights and justice. Reactions and responses to the increased flows of migrants, including refugees arriving in Europe, combined with the backdrop of the economic crisis, have put these fundamental values and the ideal of a Europe 'united in diversity' under pressure.

Migration to Europe triggers concerns about its socio-economic but also its cultural impact on European societies. Simultaneously, it raises debates about what the European core values are, what challenges them and even whether core values exist or ought to exist. Recent developments have led to escalating tensions between nationalism and Europeanisation. At the same time, civil movements have arisen across Europe, for example to assist migrants, and notably refugees, with entering and integrating into European societies. Values, be they political, philosophical, cultural, educational or religious are by nature fluid and changeable, subject to processes of historical developments, external influences, and continuous negotiation and contestation. Meanwhile, values may be experienced and expressed as fixed, sacred, absolute and non-negotiable and may be instrumentalised.


Research should explore normatively as well as empirically how migration, in particular the refugee challenge, and the response to it have impacted core values in Europe. This can include analysing how values are defined, framed, agreed upon and translated into practice in integration policies and initiatives (e.g. in citizenship tests, in cultural orientation courses in contracts and agreements with newly arrived migrants) as well as assessing the concrete effects of these practices on integration outcomes and social cohesion. The framing of values in political and public discourses should also be addressed. Insights from existing public opinion surveys should be included and additional surveys may be conducted as needed. Research should explore what values are considered core and fundamental to people, to what extent these values are shared in Europe and how they are justified politically, culturally, religiously or otherwise. It should also explore the (perceived) role of these values in the integration process.[2] Research should also study the historical and philosophical development, the legal foundations, the artistic representations, and the contemporary contestations and re-conceptualisations of these core values and ideals. Furthermore, research should focus on the impact of cultural and human encounters on core values and traditions as well as on the ongoing re-interpretations of these. A particular attention should be dedicated to cultural memory that may become at the same time more intangible and more essential for people whose historical heritage has been deliberately destroyed. The gender dimension should be an integral part of this part of the research.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 2.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

The research is expected to improve the knowledge base on the impact of migration, and in particular the refugee challenge, on core values in Europe. It will provide knowledge on what are considered core values across Europe, what core values are shared and to what extent, which core values are contested, and how core values are transmitted in a modern society. The research will provide evidence on the long-term implications of the impact of the refugee challenge on core values in Europe and how these may evolve in the future, also taking into account the cosmopolitisation of European societies.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Socio-economic science and humanities
  • Gender
  • International cooperation
Application date
Social sciences : Information and Communication Sciences, Demography, Economy, Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, International Relations, Law, Pedagogic & Education Research, Political science, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Sociology