Migration and Asylum

This project aims to consolidate the existing RENFORCE cluster on migration by steering it to the new challenges recently arisen in the area of migration, asylum and displacement from a regulation and enforcement perspective.

In particular, the overall idea is to couple the existing RENFORCE strengths in migration with a closer research investigation on the reform of Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and in general on forced migration. This special focus rests on the twofold consideration that:

  • the reform of the CEAS provides a unique connection between regulation and enforcement which shows interconnectivity between different areas of social sciences (from law to criminology and political science);
  • asylum related issues perfectly map onto the RENFORCE methodology as they raise a cross-cutting reflection over the main building blocks, namely: core values; policy cycle; systemic interactions; actors.

The project addresses an urgent societal and academic problem and it aims to develop new analytical paradigms and reconfigure existing ones so as to improve the manner in which the CEAS framework can effectively protect asylum seekers while assuring a fair sharing of responsibility build around solid enforcement strategies.

The RENFORCE cluster on migration has been particularly active over the past few years. It has established a multidisciplinary Migration Research Network at Utrecht Law School which worked in order to submit H2020 proposals and secured a project (CoMiSec) within UGlobe. A recent international migration conference on May 7-8, 2018 with a book launch (Refugee Crisis?, Siegel and Nagy, eds., 2018) has paved the way to further research in the field of asylum and forced migration from a multidisciplinary perspective which the most suitable methodology for a complex human phenomenon such asylum and migration.

This project, therefore, aims to enrich RENFORCE with a wider and revised cluster on asylum and migration.


The ongoing migratory pressure has been having its impact on EU institutions, national policies and civil society. This constitutes a challenge for researchers and all actors involved.

As a reaction the European Commission adopted a European Agenda for Migration (May 2015) setting out short-term goals as well as mid-term and long-term priorities.

In the light of this political platforms a plethora of legal instruments have been adopted which need a thorough investigation. These measures are supposed to be underpinned by the axiological principle of solidarity, which is called to provide the overarching paradigm for the future of regulation and enforcement in the area of migration and asylum.

Despite constituting an important first move to the implementation of a model of solidarity, the question still remains of whether they are able offer stable and/or long-term solutions beyond a situation of emergency. In the same context, some other recent proposals can be mentioned, including re-shaping the role of EU agencies, especially EASO, and a cooperation with Turkey, which offer the opportunity to reflect on (new) enforcement strategies and the consequent challenges and pitfalls.

Furthermore, in an attempt to foster more solidarity within the CEAS, a new phase has been started by the European Commission that in April 2016 proposed to reform the CEAS (COM(2016) 197 final). This will represent the third reform of the EU asylum legislation with substantial novelties in terms of harmonization effects, as for the first most of the area covered by the CEAS will be structured by Regulations, while introducing for the first time also a specific solidarity mechanism in the system of allocation of responsibility for an asylum application, according to the Dublin Regulation (COM(2016) 270 final).

These offer indeed interesting aspects to reflect on the challenges of Regulation in Europe in a significant policy area, which is likely to have an impact at the domestic level, on the one hand, while contributing to the (re)-shaping the relationship with international legal standards.

While the most consistent theoretical background refers to existing legislative measures, little attention has been paid to the start-up of this new third phase. In this context, the European Commission proposals to amend the legislation into force are meant to fill the gaps in the process of harmonization and the implementation of a reliable model of solidarity. Their analysis, following the ongoing decision-making process, will be the core of the proposed research project.