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Understanding Refugee Law in an Enlarged European Union

Rosemary Byrne, Gregor Noll and Jens Vedsted-Hansen IIIS Discussion Paper No. 11

Abstract

The present article seeks to explore how asylum law is formed, transformed and reformed in Europe, what its effects are on state practice and refugee protection in the Baltic and Central European candidate countries, and what this process reveals about the framework used by scholars to understand the dynamics of international refugee law. Arguably, an exclusive focus on EU institutions and their dissemination of regional and international norms among candidate countries through the acquis communitaire is misleading. Looking at the subregional interplay between Vienna and Budapest, Berlin and Warsaw, Copenhagen and Vilnius provides a richer understanding of the emergence of norms than the standard narrative of a Brussels dictate. Hence, to capture these dynamics, we will attempt to expand the framework of analysis by incorporating sub-regional settings, cutting across the divide between old and new Members, and by analysing the repercussions sent out by domestic legislation within these settings. While acknowledging that bilateral and multilateral relations are continuously interwoven, we conclude that bilateralism accounts for a greater degree of normative development and proliferation than multilateralism at EU level, and that domestic legislation as formed by sub-regional dynamics will remain the ultimate object of study for scholars of international refugee law.


Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).