Refugees: Will the EU find a way to put into effect the idea of flexible solidarity?

Read few comments.

Questions:

1. From countries like Slovakia, Hungary or Austria we hear that migrant quotas are dead. Do you think that EU countries we try to find a different approach to burden sharing and what kind of approach that might be?

2. We also see a tougher rhetoric on deporting unsuccessful asylum seekers. How should the EU deal with this problem?

Answers:

Andrew Geddes, Professor, Department of Politics, Co-Director, Social Sciences Migration Research Group, University of Sheffield

1. The EU will have to find a different approach to asylum because it has been made very clear that some member state governments such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have made it very clear that they are not prepared to accept the relocation of asylum seekers. Instead, the EU will have to find a way to put into effect the idea of ‘flexible solidarity’, which means that some member states will accept relocated asylum seekers while those that won’t would be expected to offer other forms of support for states such as Italy and Greece that have relatively high numbers.

2. There is already a tough rhetoric about asylum applicants and refugees in the EU and this seems likely to harden, not least because of forthcoming elections in key member states such as France and Germany. Despite the rhetoric, solutions will need to be found. This must mean accepting those whose claims for asylum are justified and require protection as refugees. There is also likely to be renewed effort to return asylum seekers to countries such as Turkey, which also requires the EU to make extensive funding available to Turkey to help them afford the vast of hosting displaced people, particularly from Syria.

Christian KaunertProfessor of International Politics, Director of the European Institute for Security and Justice, University of Dundee

1. I am not sure there are really many options. Burden sharing can be people or money. In a way, both options are already on the table with the fine system. Other than that, I think we will see the collapse of Dublin in the long run, which could lead to a mini-Schengen. The only thing to prevent that is a a significant decrease of numbers coming to the EU, but I would not say this is likely, although some reduction has occurred.

2. There is very little that can be done because usually there are legal problems with the deportation. Even if politicians increase the rhetoric, that does not change the legal basis. I don’t think the EU can do much other than what it already does, which is facilitation of the flights and signing of readmission agreements. But this is done already.

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