Finnish Civil Servants on Harmonization in the Asylum System: A Study in Horizontal Europeanization

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access | Ahead of Print | Last Modified: 30 May 2022

Finnish Civil Servants on Harmonization in the Asylum System: A Study in Horizontal Europeanization


  • Östen Wahlbeck Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, Finland


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Abstract:  This article presents a Finnish perspective on harmonization within the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The article analyses results from a study of the judgments and experiences of Finnish civil servants concerning the harmonization of the CEAS. The year 2015 constitutes a shift in asylum policies in many European countries, and a key question is how this shift has influenced the process of harmonization of asylum policies and practices. Senior civil servants working in the state administration of asylum and migration issues in Finland were interviewed anonymously as part of a comparative European research project (CEASEVAL). The interviews indicate that EU‐wide administrative cooperation has developed into a broad and diverse cooperation in recent years. The interviewees in Finland generally found harmonization of the asylum system to be necessary, which was connected to a need for greater predictability of the outcomes of the system. The results of the study suggest that Finnish asylum administration is developing toward harmonized practices involving transnational and supranational administrative cooperation in the field of asylum. The results support the conclusion of previous research that there is a process of horizontal Europeanization in which administrative practices develop organically within national asylum administration, independently of political disagreements at the EU level. This is relevant both to the framing of political issues and to research on Finnish migration and asylum policies, which need to take into account the ongoing European harmonization of policies and administrative practices.

Keywords:  asylum policy; Common European Asylum System; Finland; horizontal Europeanization; public administration

Published:   Ahead of Print

Issue:   A Common European Asylum System: Utopian or Dystopian Expectations? (Forthcoming)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v10i3.5265


© Östen Wahlbeck. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.