EU Refugee Policies and Politics in Times of Crisis: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives

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In 2015/16, Europe faced the largest inflow of refugees since World War II. This inflow highlighted systemic deficiencies in EU asylum co-operation which provoked a state of crisis. Together with the Eurozone crisis, this crisis has the potential to seriously damage the overall project of EU integration. The goal of this Special Issue is to provide a first systematic assessment of the crisis, applying and further developing key theoretical approaches to the sequence of events. In empirical terms, we advance original empirical evidence in order to deepen our understanding of the crisis and how it has been managed. In theoretical terms, we seek to (re)assess the usefulness and limitations of some important theoretical perspectives to European integration at a critical juncture of the EU's history. After presenting the sequence of events and assessing the EU's crisis response, the introduction will summarize our main findings and present avenues for further research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Common Market Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)3-22
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 01.2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The agencies’ tasks are supposed to be complementary to each other and they assist the Member States with registration, identification, finger-printing and debriefing of asylum-seekers, as well as with return operations. EASO teams help to manage the high volume of asylum claims. Frontex provides support in organizing the return of irregular migrants whose applications for asylum have been dismissed. Europol and Eurojust assist EU Member States in detecting networks of human smugglers and traffickers. The EU agencies only perform on the basis of existing hotspot structures. Financially supported by the EU, the Member States have to provide the sufficient infrastructure by themselves. The Commission regularly provides recommendations on and assessments of Member States’ Action Plans and their implementations, but leaves the execution to them. The pressure on the ‘frontline’ states to implement EU policy has increased. They may no longer ignore EU rules on registration and finger-printing as specified in the Eurodac Regulation if they intend to profit from the relocation scheme (Trauner, 2016, p. 320).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 University Association for Contemporary European Studies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd

    Research areas

  • Common European Asylum System, crisis, EU policy-making, European integration, refugees
  • Politics