The Development of a European Asylum Policy in an Expanded European Union
In recent years, there have been a number of attempts to harmonise European policies towards the increasing numbers of asylum seekers. Indeed, in 1997, the Amsterdam Treaty committed members of the European Union (EU) to a 2002 deadline whereby visa, asylum and immigration decisions would be transferred from Pillar III (Intergovernmental co-operation) to Pillar I (Community matters). However, this process of harmonisation, whereby member states would effectively abdicate their sovereign decision-making powers to the jurisdiction of the European Commission, must be placed in the context of a contemporary European political environment that is far from even in its reaction to asylum seekers. On May 1, 2004, ten new states from East Central Europe joined the EU and this expansion of the Union’ borders eastwards has formally shifted the focus of managing and receiving movements of asylum seekers seeking to gain access to the EU. This paper explores the extent to which it is accurate to portray current European practice in terms of the application of a ‘Fortress Europe’ wherein policies towards asylum seekers have shifted from offering protection to an emphasis on rejection and exclusion. Consideration will be given to the extent to which policies towards asylum seekers and refugees in the new Member States conflict with the concept of ‘Fortress Europe’.
16. 5. 06
Téma: Refugees in CEE