Abstract: After the end of the Cold War, a decade started within which the idea of European unity gained considerable traction. The Maastricht Treaty transformed the Economic Community into the European Union and the scope of collaboration between its member states widened to include justice and home affairs. By the end of the decade, it had become clear this was not enough to address the challenges caused by refugee migration. Thus the Amsterdam Treaty aimed at proper joint policy and law‐making in the sphere of migration and asylum. This ought to be done with full respect to the 1951 Refugee Convention. By 2004, when the Union was joined by ten new member states, the essence of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) had been formulated and turned into Regulations and Directives as part of the Union’s body of common law. The system was further fine‐tuned during the next decade, but during the 2015 “refugee crisis” the system collapsed for lack of solidarity and solid agreements on responsibility‐sharing between the member states. Since then, the single goal member states share is that asylum seekers and refugees are best kept from finding a way into Europe—for once they arrive political stress is the unavoidable consequence. Paradoxically, precisely the ideal of a CEAS has introduced practices that deviate from the EU’s norms regarding international protection. This thematic issue reviews some of those issues but also finds examples of harmonization and good practices.
Keywords: asylum; Common European Asylum System; politicization; reception; refugees; solidarity