Towards a Common European Migration Policy

4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

A presentation and discussion on the interplay between European regulations, national discrepancies, and migrants' strategies, featuring researchers from the Institute for Social Research in Oslo, Norway.

For the past fifteen years, European governments have worked towards creating a common migration regulation. A lot has been achieved. Still, continued tension exists between the supra-national attempts at coordination, national discrepancies and migrants´ adaptive strategies.

In this presentation, Norwegian researchers from the Institute for Social Research in Oslo, Norway, illustrate these tensions with a study of secondary migration of African asylum seekers from Italy to Norway. According to the so-called Dublin-Agreement, the first EU-member country an asylum seeker comes to shall be responsible for processing his or her case. The migrants, however, move on despite this supra-national regulation. This is mainly because of the differences in reception and integration systems in the two countries.

The agreement presupposes parity in reception conditions in Europe. In reality, however, there are substantial differences in the living standards within Europe and many asylum seekers continue north only to be returned. The Southern rim of the European Union - Italy and Greece, which represents the major ports to Europe for people from Africa and Asia, are also among the countries hardest hit by the current economic crisis something that only perpetuates the national discrepancies.

The researchers will discuss how the harmonization of asylum policies in Europe is challenged by these differences in living standards and reception of applicants. They will then discuss how migrants perceive these differences and the actions they elicit. Based on fieldwork and interviews in the two countries, the researchers will present both the authorities and the migrants´ perspectives. The presentation is accompanied by a set of pictures showing the reception facilities and living conditions for asylum seekers in Italy in a time of economic crisis.

Their study is part of a larger four-year research program that looks at the interaction between migration policy and migration patterns in nine European countries.


  • Grete Brochmann, professor of Sociology, University of Oslo/Institute for Social Research
  • Jan-Paul Brekke, senior researcher, Institute for Social Research, Oslo, Norway

This event is co-sponsored by the Global Studies program, the International Center for Migration, Ethnicity, and Citizenship (ICMEC), and the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS). 


Wolff Conference Room, 6 East 16th Street, room 1103

Free; seating is limited; reservations required by emailing


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