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Here is a selection of articles and opinion pieces published by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson in various outlets, which best reflect her areas of expertise. Issues of particular interest include the refugee crisis, migration policy, the rise of extremism and populism in Europe, the future of the European Union, and the foreign fighter phenomenon. 

For a list of all stories published by TIME, visit

For published book extracts, please see the Books section of this website

Europe Made a Deadly Bargain With Autocrats. Here’s What Happened

New York Times

November 19, 2021

It’s shocking to see. Children huddle over precariously built bonfires and parents hold babies to their chests while soldiers, behind thickets of razor wire, look on impassively. But the images from the Belarus-Poland border, however harrowing, shouldn’t be surprising: This is what the European Union’s migration policy looks like.

The Fight Over 'Black Pete' Brings a Reckoning on Racial Equality in the Netherlands


November 14, 2020

Almost every year, a new report touts The Netherlands as a child-rearing utopia. But it is also a place where one of the pure joys of childhood—Christmas—is tainted for many kids. As the nights draw in, The Netherlands prepares for the arrival of Sinterklaas. Accompanying him are his helpers, the Zwarte Pieten or Black Petes, traditionally portrayed by white people as buffoons in full blackface complete with oversized lips and Afro wigs.

An Unbearable Limbo Between Hope and Grief for Relatives of Missing Migrants


August 11, 2019

When Walid Khalil Murad drifts off to sleep, he can feel the warmth of his three small children in bed beside him. They are there in his dreams too, playing happily together. There is three-year-old Nishtiman, with eyes like her father’s and the same stubborn spirit, and his sons, Nashwan, 5, and Nashat, 6, all battling for a place on Murad’s lap. He can touch them, talk to them, and he is as happy as he has ever been. 

What Should Europe Do With the Children of ISIS?

New York Times

July 22, 2017

The 9-year-old boy didn’t like school. He didn’t like the other children, because he knew what they really were: evil unbelievers who deserved to die. So he did what he was trained to do — he attacked them. He was removed from the building on his first day back...

Populism Has Not ‘Peaked’. The Fight Continues.

New York Times

April 30, 2017

Dark clouds have been hovering over Europeans who believe in an integrated, tolerant and open Continent. Nationalists and right-wing populists seemed to be on the march. And Europhiles looked nervously ahead to a string of elections in 2017, any one of which could herald the moment when the European project began to unravel for good.

Can Europe Survive the New Populism?

TIME cover story

March 19, 2017

It's rush hour in Maastricht, and a stream of bikes flows past a modest granite slab marking the signing of a treaty that changed Europe. It was here, a quarter-century ago, that the modern European Union was born. Not every passerby is brimming with pride. (Subscriber content only)

Where Refugees Can Come Home

New York Times

December 02, 2016

The 20-foot-high effigy of a refugee perched on a rooftop here does not have a name. To his creators, the anonymity of the figure crouched in an orange life vest, his arms wrapped tightly around his knees, reflects the universality of his plight. But it also reflects the way many Europeans view the refugees and migrants arriving in their towns and cities: a nameless mass threatening their way of life.

Moms of Young Muslims Enlist in Fight Against ISIS

TIME magazine

September 14, 2016

When Ibrahim Kamara was fighting with Islamic extremists in northwest Syria, there was one person he wanted to reach out to: his mother. The British teenager recorded a video for her on his cell phone, another jihadi fighting alongside him told media outlets, but she never saw it. 

Murder of Pro-E.U. MP is One More Sign of a Darkening Europe


July 16, 2016

The founding values of the European Union have had little place in the debate ahead of the June 23 referendum on British membership

Latvia Wary of its Ethnic Russians as Tensions with Moscow Rise


October 02, 2014

For a woman Latvian intelligence services have named as a potential anti-state organizer, 29-year-old Margarita Dragile seems more worried about dinner than being a menace to society as she arrives at a Riga café for an interview with TIME this week.

E.U. to Debate Making Buying Sex Illegal


February 23, 2014

Perched on high stools and tugging at tight uniforms of spandex, satin and lace, the women in the windows of Ghent’s red light district barely register the police patrolling outside. Bored eyes flicker up briefly before returning to the screens of mobile phones

Bulgaria: Syria refugee crisis hits EU's poorest nation

The Independent

November 02, 2013

This is not the Europe that Bangeen imagined. Crammed in a disused carpentry school on the outskirts of Sofia, the 32-year-old Syrian Kurd has fashioned a tent from a white sheet and a tree branch. 

The Chairman of Melilla: misery at the gates of fortress Europe

Roads & Kingdoms

October 13, 2013

It is a warm summer night on Gurugu Mountain in northern Morocco, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas rings out from an old cell phone. The man everyone knows as The Chairman answers and disappears into the darkness, moving deftly over the rocky terrain.

‘Babies don’t need to die like this': the case for child euthanisia

The Independent

September 12, 2013

The right-to-die debate has gone a step futher in Belgium. Charlotte McDonald-Gibson speaks to a mother who wants others to avoid her baby’s slow, painful death.  

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