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The Europeanisation of German asylum policy and the "Germanisation" of European asylum policy: the case of the "safe third country" concept

Post, Dorothee, and Niemann, Arne. (2007) The Europeanisation of German asylum policy and the "Germanisation" of European asylum policy: the case of the "safe third country" concept. In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)

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    Considering the considerable dynamics of EU migration policy both at the constitutional and legislative level, and the potential constraints for governments to pursue certain policies domestically as the result of European integration, more attention is merited to explain why and how member governments have managed to maintain control over the (legislative) process. This paper analyses how the German government remained in charge over the process and safeguarded its key preferences with regard to the development and implementation of the "safe third country" concept at both at the national and European level. Our paper explores the boundaries and interplay between Europeanisation and European integration and thus seeks to contribute to the wider Europeanisation debate. We look at the Europeanisation of asylum policy, both as a top-down process (domestic change caused by EU level developments) and as a bottom up process (whereby Member States transfer their policies to the European level in order to avoid costs when "down-loading" European policies at a later stage in the process). The latter dimension as well as the interaction between the two-levels has so far received insufficient attention in EU/Europeanisation research. The "down-loading" of a security oriented European policy has been a means to legitimise reforms of the German constitutional right to asylum. The reform replaced the liberal and open asylum system of the post-War era with a restrictive system, finding its expression in the institutionalisation of the "safe third country rule". Since Germany was one of the first countries in Europe to overhaul its asylum system it became the "pace-setter" in the policy-making process at the EU level. It successfully up-loaded/exported its policy reforms of the early 1990s to the European level and thus avoided high adaptational costs (e.g. another constitutional reform). We thus argue that while German asylum policy has been Europeanised at the beginning of the 1990s, the recently adopted common asylum standards with regard to the safe third country concept have been "Germanised". We argue that the policy transfer from the EU to the domestic and vice versa can be explained by three factors: (1) the discourse, (2) the institutional set-up/context, and (3) exogenous and functional pressures.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > europeanisation/europeanization & European identity
    Countries > Germany
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > Third Pillar/JHA/PJCC/AFSJ > asylum policy
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2007 (10th), May 17-19, 2007
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2008
    Page Range: p. 40
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:51

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