EU immigration and border politics have been subject to criticism for years¹ – particularly regarding the increasingly militarized securitization of its external frontier. In recent weeks the rapid influx of refugees – mainly from war-torn Syria, Irak, and Afghanistan – and the EU’s failure to provide an adequate and humane response have dramatically highlighted the consequences of this development².

Major solidarity movements and civic activism have helped compensate for the passivity of most European governments. At the same time anonymous activists as well as prominent artists have been voicing criticism and solidarity with the refugees via street art and graffiti on walls all over Europe.


Many of the political slogans that are used to express solidarity today have been around for years, often framed in social movement contexts. As graffiti, stickers, and murals they continue to circulate in urban space.

"Refugees welcome - Bring your families" has become one of the most wide-spread solidarity slogans | Photo via

Here the slogan resurfaces in a Blockupy pasteup in Frankfurt | Photo via


"Kein Mensch ist illegal/No human being is illegal" mural on a facade in Hamburg | Photo via

"Migration is not a crime" stencil by Mapet in Athens | Photo via

"We are all immigrants" artwork by JNOR and NDA in Athens | Photo via

A train in Dresden carries the words "Welcome" in Arabic | Photo via

Street Art and Murals

From Banksy to Blu, many European street artists pursue decidedly political projects. It is thus not surprising that so many of them have commented on the EU border regime and the refugee crisis.

Photos via

German artist duo Herakut have been actively working with refugees for years. Just last year they painted at the world's second largest refugee camp in Jordan ( This artwork in Munich states "If we refuse the seeking refuge - what kind of people are we? | Photo via