The rapid arrival of historic numbers of refugees and migrants in 2015–16 reignited discussions in Europe about the rights and obligations of visibly and religiously different members of society. Burqa or burqini bans, for example, have focused attention on the clash between different value systems.
While immigration and other types of social change are frequently painted as enemies of common values, it is often unclear exactly which values critics see as under threat. European countries have employed a range of tools—from closed-door commissions of experts to national dialogues and massive online surveys—to better pinpoint the values shared by members of their societies, meeting with mixed success. The rise of populist, far-right parties and deepening polarization has complicated this process. Governments face the twin challenges of supporting newcomer integration at a time when the social values they are being asked to adopt are themselves in flux, and of strengthening institutions that mediate and resolve conflicts over values.