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Browsing by Subject "Responsibility"

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  • Koponen, Anni (2023)
    The so-called 2015 ‘European migrant crisis’ brought the systematic flaws of the Common European Asylum System to the forefront of public debate and the subject of sharing protection responsibilities has become one of the most divisive topics on the EU agenda in the past years. With prior attempts to allocate protection costs or asylum applications more fairly between the Member States, the lack of solidarity has previously dominated the debate around migration management. Announced in 2020, the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum aims to reform the Union’s migration management by 2024. In this study, I analyze the Asylum and Migration Management Reform (AMMR), which is one of the New Pact’s legislative proposals. The significance of AMMR is in its attempt to replace the Dublin Regulation, which determines the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application. Based on this criteria of responsibility, certain Member States particularly on the Union’s borders became inundated with asylum claims as the first-entry countries back in 2015. Utilizing Ulrich Beck’s risk society theory as my framework, I examine the role of the ‘crisis’ in policymaking with an assumption that migration is constructed as a risk (policy problem) that requires measures of migration management (policy solution) in the examined proposal. By using Carol Bacchi’s What’s the Problem Represented to Be? (WPR) method, I analyze how migration and migration management are problematized in AMMR. This method is based on six interrelated questions that aim to answer: 1) what the ‘problem’ is represented to be, 2) what assumptions underlie this ‘problem’ representation, 3) how it came to be, 4) what is left unproblematic in it, 5) what effects are produced by it, and 6) where the ‘problem’ representation has been produced and how it could be challenged. Based on the analysis, I identify two ‘problem’ representations in the AMMR. There is a shift from the lack of solidarity to the lack of EU coordination ‘problem’ (1). With the assumption that there is political will to offer solidarity (Q2), the Commission’s role is to assess future situations of migratory pressure and coordinate support accordingly. With failed past attempts to re-define the criteria for determining responsibility, the move onto more choice-based solidarity measures is understandable (Q3). However, what is left unproblematic is whether the Member States will voluntarily provide a variety of solidarity measures, especially in the area of relocation of sharing costs (Q4). Because essential criteria for responsibility is preserved, we can expect future situations of migratory pressure in Member States on the Union’s borders and on popular migration routes (Q5). This dynamic will likely continue to polarize the subject of migration management. Without clear definitions for migratory pressure or expectations on sharing protection responsibilities, Member States are likely to disagree how to manage migration effectively (Q6). The lack of EU coordination ‘problem’ begins to widen the scope of migration management to external border protection, the fight against migrant smuggling, and forming partnerships with third countries for return and readmission of applicants. This in turn begins to shape migration as a risk (Q1), where irregular migration is presented to be an administrative burden to asylum systems. The focus on effective return procedure as a policy solution stems from the assumption that a significant number of applicants are not entitled to international protection (Q2), and insufficient return rates have been present in the Commission’s communications since the 2015 crisis (Q3). At the same time, there are varying recognition rates between Member States, appealed decisions, and a rise in more complex cases since 2015 (Q4). A general effect of this ‘problem’ representation is the growing suspicion towards applicants seeking international protection, particularly from countries of lower recognition rate (Q5). Unless protection standards are harmonized, an increase in the return of applicants could be called into question (Q6).