Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Policy Entrepreneurs of European Disintegration? The Case of Austrian Asylum Governance After 2015

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Abstract:  The re-establishment of border controls in the Schengen Area since 2015 and repeated contestation of the Common European Asylum System have made the policy sector of migration and asylum a topic of growing importance for European (dis)integration research. This article investigates differentiated disintegration and the factors that facilitate member states’ counter-projects to core-EU integration trajectories. Drawing on the concept of policy entrepreneurship and based on an analysis of policy documents, we use the case of Austria to examine how the government coalition, the Austrian People’s Party, and their chairman, Sebastian Kurz, have shaped European governance of asylum and borders in the aftermath of the 2015–2016 crisis. We first show how the Austrian government performed a shift towards bilateralism and multilateralism outside the EU framework by using transnational party alliances. Second, we outline a policy discourse that justified Schengen-internal bordering based on asylum politics, which eventually served to delegitimize Schengen’s enlargement in 2022. The article contributes conceptually to understanding differentiated disintegration in the sector of migration and asylum, and points to potential drivers of this development.

Keywords:  Austria; border control; Common European Asylum System; European disintegration; policy entrepreneurship



© Ivan Josipovic, Sieglinde Rosenberger, Helena Segarra. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.