US Immigration Decree newest threat to open exchange of ideas and people

EuroScience, the European grassroots organization of scientists and all other stakeholders in science and innovation, is very concerned about the impact that policies in several countries will have on the key tenets of science: the open exchanges of ideas and people.

The immigration directive of President Trump in the United States is the most recent example that forbids scientists and students from seven countries from entering the USA, including those who hold dual nationality in European countries. It does so on the basis of religious discrimination and in contradiction to international obligations towards refugees. It follows on from the likely impact of the referendum result in the UK  to leave the European Union  on non-UK scientists and students working in the UK and, in reverse, on UK scientists and students in the 27 other EU countries. In addition, there is the heavy-handed crack-down of the Turkish President Erdogan on the Turkish academic community and on the press in that country.

Of course countries have to safeguard their security interests. But as the American Association for the Advancement of Science rightly states in its reaction to President Trump’s immigration decree, it would be good if the new US administration would work with AAAS to find a balanced approach which is based on known facts about terrorist threats that is, use the normal scientific method of analysing evidence in an impartial manner.

EuroScience believes strongly that societies and their citizens can only stand to lose if we choose to live by atavistic reactions and renege on the values that underpin science: respect for facts, truth, openness, and critical discussion.

We call on European governments and the European Union to reiterate these values and firmly oppose policies going in the opposite direction.


Lauritz Holm-Nielsen                                                                                   Peter Tindemans

President                                                                                                          Secretary General