Migration Working Group on ‘Asylum : Legal, Normative and Quantitative Perspectives’

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from: 11:00
to: 12:30

As part of the Migration Working Group, the Migration Policy Centre will host the following presentations:

Doing more than one’s fair share: refugee protection in the EU and the ‘coalition of the willing’ scenario, by Eleonora Milazzo, PhD Researcher, Department of Social and Political Sciences, EUI


The extent to which EU member states host refugees varies greatly. While it would be an overstatement to say that any of them is meeting the demands of inter-state solidarity in full, some states are actually doing more than others. What should those member states that are closer to doing their fair share do in the face of responsibility shirking by other fellow member states? Do they have a duty to take up the slack until effective protection is granted to the greatest number of refugees? Is this duty enforceable? And how should they respond to the risk of being the ‘suckers’?
To address these highly relevant questions, Eleonora Milazzo engages with the existing literature on the duty to take up the slack when refugee protection is at stake. In her paper she tests the so-called ‘coalition of the willing’ scenario as a way to bring the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) closer to what justice requires under non-ideal conditions. She demonstrates how this is a way to strive for EU-wide solidarity while, at the same time, ensuring that we do not leave our duties to refugees unmet for the sake of greater intra-EU fairness.


When countries expand refugee protection: democratisation, government ideology and policy diffusion in Latin America, by Omar Hammoud Gallego, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, London School of Economics


What drove the countries of an entire region to significantly expand refugee protection at the dawn of the 21st century? In this paper Omar Hammoud Gallego & Luisa Feline Freier (Universidad del Pacífico, Lima, Perú) take a mixed methods approach to explain the legislative liberalisation of refugee protection across Latin America. First, they use newly codified data from the Asylum Policies in Latin America (APLA) database to show policy liberalisation and convergence across the region; applying 57 different indicators on policy measures from 19 Latin American countries for a 29-years period. Building a series of nested Ordinary Least Square (OLS), robust regressions and country-fixed effect models, they authors then use the same data set to test conventional and region-specific determinants of policy liberalisation and convergence identified by the literature. In a third step the authors build on 175 in-depth elite interviews to shed light on the causal mechanisms behind these correlations, thus lending causal validity to our previous empirical findings. The authors find that conventional explanations such as migration and refugee stocks, the state of the economy and regional integration do not hold, whereas democratisation and government ideology are key to explaining legislative convergence and liberalisation across the region. The paper thus makes an important contribution towards understanding the determinants of refugee policies outside of Western receiving states.


Externalization and data sharing: an increasing risk for asylum seekers, by Michele Gigli, Researcher, Department of Law, EUI


By 2020, an interoperable system of migration focused databases (Smart Border Package (SBP)) will become operational at EU level. This system is sharing third country nationals’ information to track irregular migrants for public security purposes, by combining data from multiple databases through a Common Identity Repository. This increased use of Surveillance Technologies would make it easier to identify so-called ‘risky elements’, but this system has been judged disproportionately intrusive for what it intends to achieve.

Furthermore, it is not clear to what extent the legislation regulating SBP makes provision of collaboration with neighbouring countries, in particular what kinds of data are supposed to be shared, and for which purposes.

The paper by Michele Gigli discusses the main challenges the information-sharing between EU and non-EU actors entails for fundamental rights of migrants, in particular those in need of protection. It relies on recent practices of externalisation of migration control and on actual asylum policies at EU level.

The paper argues, that the collaboration fostered by the SBP is ultimately aimed at implementing invisible ‘remote control’ initiatives to restrict asylum seekers’ legal guarantees, such as the non-refoulment principle, and prevents that EU states are held accountable.


Chairs and Discussants

Leiza Brumat, Research Fellow, Migration Policy Centre, EUI

Lukas Schmid, PhD Researcher, Department of Social and Political Sciences, EUI


Short biographies




Eleonora Milazzo is a PhD Researcher at the EUI’s Department of Social and Political Sciences, interested in a wide range of normative and policy issues surrounding regional migration governance. Her research is situated at the intersection between EU Political Theory and the Ethics of Refugee Protection. Her PhD project seeks to define normatively acceptable and practically feasible regulatory principles for the EU asylum system. Specifically, she aims to establish a new framework for the duties that EU member states ought to have towards each other in relation to the protection of refugees.


Omar Hammoud Gallego is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Government at the London School of Economics. His research examines the factors influencing variation in migration and asylum policies across countries. He has recently developed a new methodology – the Asylum Policies in Latin America database (‘APLA’) – to analyse asylum policies and explain variation over time across different countries in Latin America for the 1990 – 2018 period. Omar teaches at the LSE and is currently involved in a research project on Immigrant Access to Employment in the UK and Germany, financed by LSE STICERD.


Michele Gigli is an LL.M. Researcher at the European University Institute. He received his law degree in 2019 from the University of Florence, with a dissertation on the Safe Country Notion in EU return policies, for which he conducted research within the EU institutions. He worked as stagiaire at the Court of Florence, Immigration Section, from April to December 2017. He is serving as a volunteer at L’Altro Diritto Research Centre and at Gli Anelli Mancanti non-profit organization.

Chairs and Discussants


Leiza Brumat is a Research Fellow in the MIGPROSP project. Before joining the MPC she was a lecturer in International Relations, Regional Integration and International Organizations and a Research Fellow for the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) of Argentina. She was awarded a PhD in Social Sciences by Flacso–Argentina with a thesis on migration policies and the free movement of persons in Mercosur.


Lukas Schmid is a PhD Researcher at the EUI’s Department of Social and Political Science. He specializes in normative political theory, within which he is mainly interested in questions of global justice and migration. His PhD project explores the implications of the commitment to basic human rights for the building of coercive transnational institutions. Before coming to the EUI, he received degrees from the University of Munich and the London School of Economics and Political Science.