Monday, June 10, 2013

EU Policy Analysis Proposal: Asylum Policy

            Within the general policy field of immigration, the specific policy issue that I would like to analyze is asylum. Asylum is a policy issue within Europe that needs to be addressed further by the European Union. In 2012, there were about 330,000 asylum applicants that were registered in countries within the European Union.[1] Events such as the conflict in Syria or the Arab Spring, creates a major challenge for countries and overstretches their asylum capacities. Those seeking asylum particularly burden member countries that border non-EU member countries. The inconsistency within the European Union is not only burdensome for the member countries but makes the process difficult for those seeking asylum.

At the moment, there is no common asylum policy despite the fact that many European leaders have called on the European Union to develop policies on immigration and asylum so that the process for immigrants and asylum seekers to obtain entry into all European Union member states are harmonized. The European Pact on Immigration and Asylum is really the only significant piece of legislation passed by the European Union on asylum, and it does nothing to accomplish the task. However, a new asylum policy is in the works within the European Union and the Parliament will debate on the new rules already agreed upon by the national governments and Parliament on June 11, with the expectation of approval on June 12.[2] These new rules are intended to harmonize the procedures and basic rights across all countries.

My policy analysis will define the current policy problem of asylum and will evaluate policy options for addressing the issue of harmonizing asylum policy within the EU against certain criteria. This type of analysis will be prescriptive.

Reference for Topic:

Pirjola, Jari. "European Asylum Policy – Inclusions and Exclusions under the Surface of Universal Human Rights Language." European Journal Of Migration & Law 11, no. 4 (October 2009): 347-366. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed June 10, 2013).

[1] "Common European Asylum System: What's at Stake?" European Parliament. N.p., 7 June 2013. Web. 10 June 2013.
[2] "Common European Asylum System: What's at Stake?" European Parliament. N.p., 7 June 2013. Web. 10 June 2013.


  1. Emily -- you have an excellent general topic area here as well as a good start to identifying the specific puzzle and problem that you will analyze (good background research as well). As you continue with your background research, I'd recommend the following article from Christian Joppke, which is one of the most cited and influential pieces on the general topic of immigration and civic integration in Europe. It is not limited to the specific question of asylum policy, but it gives excellent context information for the general topic area that you propose to analyze:

    Christian Joppke (2007): Beyond national models: Civic integration policies for immigrants in Western Europe, West European Politics, 30:1, 1-22.

  2. Dr. Boesenecker - I was wondering if I focused on a certain country, such as Greece, if that would be specific enough for the assignment. Greece is considered the "gateway to Europe" but its asylum system is a mess. Add to the economic problems that the country has faced recently, Greece is facing many challenges in dealing with asylum seekers, especially within the context of what the European Union is trying to accomplish through the recent asylum policies proposed.

    To be honest, I'm a little confused by what you mean by identifying a "puzzle" and I was wondering if you could explain to me further by what you mean by "puzzle." It could be that I'm making it more complicated that it needs to be but maybe clarification will help me approach the topic better.

    Also, thank you for the article you recommended. It should be very helpful.

    1. Emily,

      One question that comes to mind is whether you can somehow separate out the asylum system in Greece from the larger European context. I'm not sure that you can, given that asylum and immigration policy is something that at least partially falls under the competencies of the EU. That being said, using Greece as an example of a specific problem or puzzle regarding asylum and immigration policy in Europe more broadly.

      On the idea of a puzzle, what you are looking for is a problem or topic that is, well, *puzzling* -- not just a question to which *you* don't know the answer, but a question or problem that doesn't make sense given our current understandings of the general policy area. That means finding something concrete that you can point to and say "I want to explain *that* because it doesn't make obvious sense" (perhaps because what you observe doesn't fit with existing theory, perhaps because we are not seeing policies or outcomes that we would expect, or perhaps because what we are seeing in terms of policies or outcomes is surprising both theoretically and empirically). In other words, in identifying a problem or puzzle to analyze, we're not just looking to collect information on something that we don't understand, but we're looking to establish that there is a genuine puzzle -- something that policymakers and academics alike haven't fully explained -- that demands analysis and clarification. Does that make sense?