• Maria Bernhardson Rosendahl
  • Jane Slot Povlsen
4. term, European Studies, Master (Master Programme)
During the high inflow of refugees and migrants in 2015 and onwards, the European Union experienced an unprecedented number of arrivals since World War II. As a response to the crisis, the EU proposed a number of immediate actions to be taken such as the emergency relocation mechanism to lift the burden from the most affected member states. Although the mechanism was intended to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other member states, less than 20% had been relocated when the mechanism expired in September 2017. Furthermore, the EU has unsuccessfully attempted to establish a permanent mecha-nism to be activated in times of crisis.

This thesis sets out to investigate the reasons behind the failed attempt by the EU to establish an effective and lasting mechanism to share asylum seekers by interviewing six MEPs from the LIBE Committee combined with the theory of liberal intergovernmentalism. The theory focuses on member states when looking for plausible explanations of the failure of a common EU policy. Three hypotheses have been deduced based on the theory of LI, two at the national level and one at the EU level, in order to investigate why the EU’s attempt failed.

The first two hypotheses of respectively Germany and Hungary have shown a deep divide between the two countries. Angela Merkel, on the one hand, opened the German border and advocated for a common EU solution, while Viktor Orbán opposed the creation of permanent quotas, and refused to participate in the emergency relocation mechanism, as he is unwilling to transfer sovereignty within this area to the EU. It seems that both MS’s responses to the high inflow of refugees are related to their government’s national interests. Indications suggests that Merkel and her government have long-term economic interests in welcoming asylum seekers to Germany, whereas the Hungarian government with Orbán in front has played on fear of refugees and portrayed them as a threat to the country. The actions of both governments have supposedly served their political interests of being re-elected, which corre-sponds to the predictions of liberal intergovernmentalism.

This divide between the MS is also evident from how countries like Portugal, Germany and Sweden have been rather open to immigration and hence hold an interest in receiving people, while Hungary and the rest of the Visegrád group, on the other hand, rejects to participate in relocations due to concerns over transferring sovereignty and having an interest in keeping asylum seekers out. There seems to be conflicting national interests among the MS, and thereby a lack of preference convergence, which has hindered the establishment of an effective relocation mechanism.
Publication date2 Apr 2018
Number of pages70
ID: 273157816