221 Looking For Europe: How The Immigration and Asylum Policies Construct (or not) The EU Identity

Thursday, June 27, 2013: 11:00 AM-12:45 PM
5.60 (PC Hoofthuis)
The proposed roundtable aims at discussing the “European Union identity”, from the perspective of EU immigration and asylum policies. If identity building relies on common standards, it is even truer that it is about protection of these common standards from the exterior, potentially destructive, influences.

The unifying common standards amounting to EU constitutional identity include the principle of dignity and the principle of solidarity. The former corresponds to the recognition and protection of fundamental rights, which regard the European citizens as well as the third country nationals; the latter refers to the affirmation of the mutual loyalty between the EU Member States on one hand, and between them and the European institutions on the other.

Yet, as far as the EU (migration) policy is concerned, these ideal principles that are repeatedly proclaimed appear to be quite mistreated. As some scholars and activists argue, dignity and solidarity seem at least for the moment to be sacrificed for the sake of ‘fortress Europe’. Indeed tensions exist that must be highlighted: tensions between the defence of Member States’ borders and the protection of migrants’ rights; tensions between national security and individual dignity; tensions between national concerns and European purposes.

If the Member States appear to share some common and conservative objectives in drafting the European immigration and asylum policy, they remain reluctant with regards to any really integrative approach in these matters. Not only do the Member States wish to retain control over such a policy, but they also develop vastly different perspectives to the extent that each one registers peculiar needs that can contradict the others’. The common ambition of a truly European immigration and asylum policy thus appears to be harshly difficult to achieve.

Furthermore, some of the reached compromises in immigration and asylum matters have resulted in some deterioration of the European common standards and therefore of the European constitutional identity. The competition dynamic the EU integration promotes seems to collide with the alleged equivalence between the national protection human rights system, so much that disparities and disharmonies among the Member States in immigration and asylum matters path the way to national fears. The principle of mutual confidence tends to turn into mutual defiance, hence pushing the Member States to restore some controls over the internal borders.

Consequently, it seems necessary to question whether the determination and protection of EU borders undermine the assertion and the realization of EU purposes, whether the geographical identity and the means employed/used for drawing and consolidating the EU borders erode the political identity of the Union by crumbling its fundamental elements.

Marie-Laure Basilien-Gainche
Flora Goudappel
Is There Solidarity On Asylum and Migration in the EU?
Iris Goldner, University of Zagreb
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