Harmonization and burden redistribution in the two Europes

Rosemary Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the absence of a burden sharing mechanism in the European Union, Member States have utilized refugee procedures and policies as a means to affect the distribution of asylum seekers across the region. The regional harmonization of asylum policy is directed by what Noll describes as the forces of the 'market place of protection', with Member States minimizing protection standards and maximizing deflection capacities. The resulting template for regional asylum policy embodied in the acquis developed a range of substantive and procedural standards for refugee protection which also aimed to compensate for the absence of a safeguard mechanism to ensure the equitable distribution of refugees in the region. With the accession process underway, the acquis is being transferred from the west to the east. Yet while the framework of norms and standards transposed on the legal systems of candidate countries is the same, the driving principles of the European asylum policy when extended towards the east are the inverse of those that directed asylum policy for the current Membership. In contrast to Western Europe, when the European Union promotes the implementation of the asylum acquis through the accession process, it advances protection standards and maximizes the reflection capacities of applicant states. The effect in the east is a distortion in the system of redistribution that emerged from the harmonization of asylum policy in the west.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-358
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Harmonization and burden redistribution in the two Europes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this