Panel I




Throughout Europe and beyond, the field of migration and asylum is more and more permeated by uncertainty. Often triggered by the impetus of mutable political winds, legislation on immigration and asylum has been constantly changing, quite often inconsistently, in European countries and beyond. The institutional landscape has contributed to add further complexity, given the multiplicity of entities involved in the “multi-level” and subsidiary-based management of migration, which often involves international actors. Against the axiom of legal certainty and predictability, the political and legal framework of migration and asylum is fragmented, difficult to be correctly and coherently implemented, and even more difficult to be navigated through by vulnerable people. Uncertainty permeates every stage of the national migration management systems, from the operations of rescue and succour, to the refugee status determination and, more broadly, the set of entitlements bestowed to migrants after being granted protection or the permit to stay. Such a structural lack of certainty affects migration governance effectiveness. And it strongly impacts on migrants, asylum applicants and refugees’ lives.

The panel addressees the topic by focusing on the following research questions: Which are the consequences of this uncertainty in terms of legal coherence, migration governance, institutional effectiveness and migrants, asylum applicants and refugees choices? How does precariousness influence migrants’ trajectories of life? How does uncertainty affects the society as a whole and the entire legal system? Can uncertainty be regarded as a “governance strategy” and/or as a tool of migration containment and control? Which are the fundamental reasons of uncertainty?

abstracts & bios

Panel 1A

Multi-level governance of migration and the “institutional uncertainty”: first attempts of conceptualization

Paola Pannia, University of Florence

In the aftermath of the so-called “refugee crisis”, States have attempted to inject greater order and efficacy to the management of migration. However, this has often resulted in an overreacting and rapidly evolving legislation and in a complex and fragmented legal framework, difficult to be both correctly and consistently implemented and duly interpreted and applied. The institutional landscape has contributed to add further complexity, given the multiplicity of entities involved in the “multi-level” and subsidiary-based management of migration, with different, often blurring, responsibilities. As a consequence, the legal enforcement and guarantee of fundamental rights is jeopardised and often it largely depends on the discretionary power of single offices and individuals.

Furthermore, a toolbox of new measures and procedures has been enacted by States, with the aim to streamline and smoothing the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) procedure. However, the procedural simplification has often been realized at the expenses of the principles of transparency and predictability, through the introduction of exceptions, and the restrictions of rights and legal guarantees, such as the reduction of appeal rights and/or the elimination of automatic suspensive effects in many European countries.

Caught in a limbo, thousands of asylum seekers still wait to know if they are entitled of protection or not. Meanwhile, the suspension of rights, such as the right to family reunification, and the uneven standards recognized to applicants on the basis of the specific form of protection received, further boost the uncertainty of migrants’ legal status, and contribute to create what has been named “the asylum lottery”.

Against this backdrop, this paper attempts at designing the conceptual basis of what can be named “institutional uncertainty”. Building upon the comparative analysis of foreigners’ legal status across EU countries, the systematic and pervasive legal uncertainty in which migrants are constrained can be regarded as a tool of migration governance, rather than the mere result of the states’ incapacity and lack of preparation to manage a complex phenomenon.


Paola Pannia is a post-doc researcher at the University of Florence. She holds a PhD in “Individual Person and legal protection” at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, with a research on cultural diversity and judicial reasoning, successfully defended on June 2015. Since 2014, she has collaborated with UNHCR and Defence for children, on national and international project of research, focusing on immigration, asylum law, and children’s rights. Lawyer since 2012, she has been volunteering at the “Project Arcobaleno Association”, as pro bono legal consultant. She is member of ASGI, the Italian Association on Immigration Studies.

Experiencing and navigating the uncertainty of immigration laws and practices in Poland

Monika Szulecka, Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw

The recent years witnessed a wide debate on the need to revise migration and asylum policy and immigration laws, as well as to change the related practices to prevent the undesirable, uncontrolled inflow of migrants to Poland. This need has been justified by the potential risks linked to “the migration crisis” in Europe, although this crisis has not been experienced directly by Poland. Nevertheless, it certainly contributed to the change of approaches towards immigration and admission of asylum seekers. Despite almost unchanged legal basis, practices linked to implementing immigration and asylum law or law on border control have been amended and became diversified in a way raising concerns about their compliance with the law in force. This encourages to ask the question about the nature and results of the changing practices, as well as to analyse the influence of unpredictable practices based (in theory) on this law on migrants’ experiences. To answer these questions not only migrants' perspective but also the perspective of “street-level beaurocrats” should be taken into account. The latter, as representatives of public institutions responsible for the implementation of immigration and asylum law, may be also influenced by uncertain, too complicated or frequently changed legal framework and try to find solutions to deal with this challenge.

The paper will be based on the secondary analysis of selected qualitative interviews conducted between 2017 and 2019 within two research projects: one focused of creating and implementing policies towards forced migration (RESPOND project), and another one dedicated to the functioning of legal instruments aimed at controlling migrants’ access to the labour market. The interviews were conducted with the representatives of public institutions on the local level, activists in social organisations and last but not least with immigrants (either seeking protection or seeking possibilities for improving their economic status).


Monika Szulecka is a researcher at the Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw and a member of the Criminology Department of the Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. Her scientific interests include the issue of the economic adaptation of migrants, irregular migration, migration control, immigration law in practice, as well as the phenomenon of crimmigration and migration-related criminal phenomena. She usually applies qualitative methods and the socio-legal approach in the conducted studies.

Acquis or not acquis: statelessness in the context of forced migration

Oleksandra Zmiyenko, College of Europe in Bruges

In all the complexity of issues arising in the context of forced migration, statelessness remains a hidden phenomenon. Yet, this violation of the human right to a nationality should be equally understood as a consequence of, or a catalyst for conflicts, crises and forced displacement. Despite unresolved endemic statelessness in certain EU member states, most of the legislations provide safeguards related to prevention; thus, it should not be possible to be born stateless in the “area of freedom, security and justice”. The external cases not covered by prevention mechanisms are more complex, especially when they complicate asylum procedures and throw a shadow on what might come after: from family reunification to potential return. The question arises is to what extent the EU can address statelessness in the context of forced migration from third countries. Within the framework of the notion of de jure statelessness, the paper would aim to identify the policy (in)coherence between the EU and Member States and the policy gaps in addressing statelessness, in particular arising within the context of forced migration. Departing from the ambitious UNHCR’s intent to bring an end to statelessness by 2024, the paper would aim to explain the necessity of the “right to have rights” in the area of free movement and would focus on what can be done by the EU to show its welcoming of the UNHCR campaign on the policy level.


Oleksandra Zmiyenko is Academic Assistant at the College of Europe in Bruges, Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies. She holds a Master’s degree in Law from the Jagiellonian University and an MA in European Interdisciplinary Studies from the College of Europe. In 2017, she was awarded the College of Europe -United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies prize for her thes is on statelessness, which offered her the opportunity to undertake a fellowship with UNU-CRIS. Prior to joining the College, Oleksandra completed a number of traineeships and worked on migration and human rights-related issues.

Challenges in migration management: how to get to truly EU policy in asylum in its external and internal dimension?

Nadan Petrovic, University of Rome “La Sapienza”

With all evidence, in the coming years (if not decades) the European Union will inevitably continue to face strong migration flows. The serious and continuous instability of many areas bordering the Southern and Southeastern border of the Union, along with the structural economic-social and demographic imbalance between the Middle East, Maghreb and sub-Saharan areas with the European Union one, will continue to produce migration consequences in the medium to long term. In addition, the tested and structured networks of the traffickers and smmuglers of human beings, long present in the management of the flow, have demonstrated, already in the past, an enormous capacity for flexibility and invention in the (re) activation of new routes. The European Union's response to these challenges has so far been substantially inadequate. Not all the measures taken were in themselves wrong. However, even in the presence of some "well-understood" measures (see the EU-Turkey statement as well as the dialogue with the African countries in the context of the so-called Khartoum and Rabat process etc-), these have appeared untimely, leaving individual States to proceed autonomously, adopting measures that are decidedly risk-laden. Pending, many EU Member States have proceeded to build walls, physical or virtual, causing a "domino effect" on neighbouring countries. This situation is strongly penalizing, in the long term, countries of first entry (in the near past Greece and Italy, currently Spain), but, at the same time it strongly contribute to the progressive deterioration of the political-institutional scenario in Europe, which could lead to the disintegration of the Schengen system. The paper will this adress main challanges as well as some proposals for better structuring EU policy in asylum in its external and internal dimension.


Nadan Petrovic is professor of Strategies of International Cooperation at La Sapienza University of Rome. He hold Ph.D. in “History of Asylum in Italy since Constitution form 1948, in light of process of harmonization of EU policies in asylum” and Master in International Protection of Human Rights at University of Rome “La Sapienza” as well as Law Degree – Bachelor of Laws (legally recognized by the Faculty of Law, University of Rome “La Sapienza”), Faculty of Law, University of Sarajevo. During his professional career he covered several high ranking positions in the field of asylum and integration. He is author of several books and numerous articles on migration issues.


Deterrence, criminalisation and uncertainty: The case of Italy

Matilde Rosina, King’s College London

Strategies of deterrence have a great appeal for policy-makers concerned with the control of borders: Because individuals are expected to migrate irregularly when the anticipated benefits are greater than the foreseen costs, increasing the latter should make the conduct less profitable and appealing, and therefore reduce its occurrence. But is deterrence effective in curbing migratory flows?

In this paper, I focus on the criminalisation of irregular migration in Italy since 2009 as an example of deterrence, to examine its effects and consequences. In this context, the uncertainty of both implementation and punishment emerges as one of the crucial factors in determining the measure’s failure, and leads to a discussion of whether deterrence fails due to inadequate application of its basic principles (including the need for certainty), or to other, more structural, problems. It also leads the author to hypothesise the emergence of a vicious cycle starting from uncertainty and leading to higher insecurity, through ineffective deterrence measures.

To discuss the above, I combine the international political economy literature on migration governance with criminological studies on the functioning of deterrence. The result is an interdisciplinary approach which, I would argue, is best suited to address the complexity of the issues discussed. In particular, while analysing criminalisation in Italy, I rely on previously unreleased official statistics, élite interviews with magistrates, politicians and police officers, and surveys among migrants.


Matilde Rosina is a PhD candidate in the Department of European and International Studies at King’s College London. Her research focuses on the concept of deterrence in the context of international migration, and in particular on the criminalisation of irregular migration. She has been awarded the Roberto Einaudi Scholarship by the Luigi Einaudi Foundation, and the Henri Rieben Scholarship by the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe. Matilde is also an adjunct faculty member at Fordham University, where she teaches international political economy. Previously, she worked at the European Commission and in the business intelligence sector, focusing, respectively, on trafficking in human beings and the defence industry

The prosecution of “Solidarity Crimes”. Uncertainty in Law and Rights

Juan Pablo Aris Escarcena, University of Seville

“Solidarity crime” is the expression with which civil society has defined the prosecution of humanitarian actors by European governments. Judicial prosecution of volunteers carrying out humanitarian activities has taken place in several European countries: France, Italy, Spain, UK, Greece, Hungary, etc. This presentation analyses the solidarity crime as a disruptive element for the rule of law and the Fundamental Rights in the Member States of the European Union. The disruptive nature of these practices from different European states affects both the rights of European civil society and citizens, and the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers. In this presentation we want to point out in a practical way how uncertainty as a governance strategy affects all European societies.

Firstly, I present the legal bases for this type of judicial prosecution in the European Union context on the basis of the “Facilitation Package”. Secondly, I focus on the case of France. My explanation will focus on two ethnographically studied cases. (1) The prosecution to Cedric Herrou. Through my fieldwork in Ventimiglia and the Roya Valley I have studied the migratory reality in which Cedric Herrou's activity was inserted, whom I interviewed in December 2017. (2) The prosecution to “the three of Briançon”. In this litigation a group of activists who participated in a demonstration on the border between Italy and France were tried. I interviewed in May 2018 Bastien, one of the first defendants in the trial. This presentation is based on my multi-sited ethnographic work along different European border landscapes since 2015. In my fieldwork I have developed the participant observation in relation with different volunteer organizations. In a second phase of ethnographic work, I have conducted formal interviews with key actors. I used audio-visual filming techniques during this second phase.My presentation will be accompanied by some fragments from these films.


Juan Pablo Aris Escarcena is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Seville, beneficiary of a Doctoral Fellowship of the Ministry of Education of Spain “FPU – Formación de Profesorado Universitario”. His study aims at analysing the sociocultural implications of the EU migration policy, the construction of the regulatory framework for European borders within the European Union, and the impact, assimilations, and resistances at the level of the different EU Member States in the face of this regulatory process.

He has developed ethnographic field work on the southern border of Spain, in Melilla and Ceuta; in the official reception camp of Katsikas, in the northwest of mainland Greece; in Calais and the northern region of France; in Ventimiglia and the Schengen internal border between France and Italy; in the Calabria region (southern Italy); in the Region of Sicily (Italy).

The Conflictual Theory of Law(-making) and the Case of Irregular Migration to Germany

Julius Maximilian Rogenhofer, University of Cambridge

This paper uses the regulation of irregular migration to Germany to illustrate the operation of the conflictual theory of law(-making), as a way of understanding laws as the product of social struggles over meaning. Its theorisation of actors and practices in law-production processes allows the researcher to analyse the (re)negotiation of the right to asylum in the German houses of parliament (the Bundestag and the Bundesrat) and the processes by which parliamentarians and intersecting parliamentary and media discourses create and institutionalise underlying knowledge/power constructs around irregular migration to Germany. In line with pragmatist commitments to radical democracy and the participation of all members of a society directly affected by a law in legislative deliberations, the conflictual theory of law enables the researcher to connect epistemological aspirations of inclusive and pluralistic inquiry with a normative assessment of laws and law-production processes. By breaking these law-making processes into their constituent elements and analysing which stakeholders are recognised and included in the (re)negotiation of the regulation of irregular migration, this paper then casts doubt on the universalist self-understanding of the German legal system.


Julius is a PhD Candidate at the University of Cambridge and the founder of, a platform focused on migrants, minorities and marginalisation. He is a former Visiting Scholar at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and has received the Cambridge European Trust Scholarship and a Scholarship from the German Scholarship Foundation for his PhD research. Julius published articles for the academic journal Populism, the German MenschenRechtsMagazin as well as for the Middle East Institute in Washington. Julius is also a Solicitor of the Courts of England and Wales.

EU migration governance and neighbouring states: partnerships, priorities and legal certainty

Rachael Dickson & James Cardwell, University of Strathclyde

Migration remains an area of importance in EU relations with other states. A number of initiatives have been pursued that see responsibility for managing migration become shared, such as the so-called EU-Turkey deal and the EU-Jordan compact. In this vein, a reinvigoration of mobility partnerships has occurred. Initially a tool of the European Neighbourhood Policy, these cooperation frameworks are being utilised with strategic countries of transit and origin such as Tunisia and Morocco. This paper analyses the cooperation and assistance within these frameworks using the lens of new modes of governance to assess the legal relationships and oversight contained. It will highlight a reliance on looser mechanisms with scope for adaptation to changing circumstances, and argue that a preference for this style of governance can have implications for rights and legal certainty.

Taking cooperation under the umbrella of the Tunisian and Moroccan mobility partnerships, the paper will examine developments in the areas of Visa Facilitation and Readmission, and show how assistance with migration has become a condition for further cooperation in other policy areas, such as trade and development. The paper will also present further analysis to show that more formal legal mechanisms could be used which would add clarity to the law, and offer preliminary conclusions as to risks the EU faces in prioritising looser governance arrangements.


Rachael Dickson is a post-doctoral researcher working on the ‘Migration and New Governance’ project with Professor Paul James Cardwell, University of Strathclyde. She gained her PhD in 2018 from Queen’s University Belfast and her thesis provided a post-structural critique of the EU’s actions to operate in solidarity and respond to the migration crisis from 2014 on. The research will be the subject of her upcoming monongraph, Managing Migration in Crisis: Implications for European Union law, policy and human rights (Routledge). Rachael is currently the Chair of the UACES Graduate Forum Committee and edits the Crossroads Europe blog.

Paul James Cardwell is Professor of Law at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. His primary fields of research interest are EU external relations and migration. He has published widely in these fields, including three books and articles in leading journals such the Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, European Law Review and Journal of European Integration. He is currently working on the relationship between law and new governance in the context of external migration to the EU.

Migrant integration conditionality: myths and reality of the EU-Jordan Global Compact

Sara Poli, University of Pisa

One of the uncertainties in the management of refugees is how to better integrate refugees in the hosting communities. The paper focuses on the recent approach experimented by the EU which consists in providing trade and other incentives to third countries that ease the integration of Syrian refugees in the job market. In 2016 a Commission Communication has launched the idea of establishing a new partnership framework with third countries in order to tackle immigration upstream. This act also mentions the possibility to reward those countries “taking action to adequately host persons fleeing conflict and persecution”. Jordan and Lebanon provide ideal test cases for the new approach. Indeed, as result of the prolonged war in Syria, the two EU’s Southern neighbours have hosted high numbers of displaced persons for a protracted period of time. The EU has concluded Compacts both with Lebanon and Jordan in 2016. The most interesting one is the Compact with Jordan since it is pervaded by a new form of conditionality which is aimed not merely at ‘adequately hosting refugees’ but also to integrating them into the job market of the receiving State. The new approach consists in relaxing trade obstacles vis-a-vis goods coming from Jordan upon the condition that the goods are manufactured in areas which employ a certain percentage of Syrians. The paper will consider to what extent the proposed new approach and its underlying principle (i.e. migrant-integration conditionality) provides solutions to the many uncertainties that characterise refugees’ lives and offers an acceptable solution to better control refugees flows. It may be wondered whether the migrant integration conditionality experimented in the Jordan case is a technique that should be more widely used by the EU.


Sara Poli is Full Professor of European law at the University of Pisa (Italy) as of 2018. She was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair under the Life Long learning programme between 2013 and 2016. Previously, she has been assistant professor at the University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata;’ she has worked as Marie Curie Fellow at the European University Institute (Fiesole) in 2008-2009; she has been research and teaching fellow at the University of Trieste and Robert Schuman Fellow at the European University Institute in in 2002-2003. She has been lecturer of European Law at the University of Southampton and teaching assistant of the College of Europe (law department) in Bruges. She obtained her Master of legal studies degree at the College of Europe, and her PhD from the Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari and perfezionamento S. Anna (Pisa) where she also did her undergraduate studies. She graduated from the University of political science in (Pisa) in 1995. Sara has received a number of research grants such as the Vlac fellowship of the Royal academy of Belgium for science and the arts, the Marie Curie intra-european fellowship and the Jean Monnet and the Fulbright-Schuman fellowships (Dickinson School of Law, PA). She has published in leading EU law journals such as the Rivista di diritto dell’Unione europea, Rivista di Diritto Internazionale, Studi sull’integrazione europea, Diritto del Commercio Internazionale, the Common Market Law Review, the Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies, the European Law Journal, the European Law Review, the Yearbook of European law, the Maastricht Journal of European law and Revista de Derecho comunitario europeo. She has carried out research in several areas of EU law, including most recently in the area of EU external relations.

Turkey’s migration management: Uncertainties arising from swift changes in the legal framework and the impact of the EU-Turkey Statement

Elif Çetin, Yasar University, Turkey, Von Hugel Institute, University of Cambridge

Out of an estimated 5.6 million Syrians, who left their county as refugees since the outbreak of the civil war in March 2011 (UNHCR 2018), 3.6 million (DGMM 2019) of them are being hosted by Turkey under the ‘temporary protection’ scheme. The dramatic increase in the numbers of Syrians post-2011 created immense pressures on Turkey, leading the country to issue the Temporary Protection Regulation in 2014 as a significant legal response. This paper argues that, based on a logic of hospitality, where Syrians in Turkey are labelled as ‘guests’, the temporary protection regime lacks a concrete time frame and generates uncertainties for Syrians living in Turkey as, in practice, it does not establish guaranteed and stable rights to have access to the labour market, health care, education and affordable housing. Uncertainties involved in Turkey’s migration governance strategies also erect barriers to Syrians’ integration to the country, risking the escalation of the already existing tensions between Syrians and local communities. Short-sighted migration policies that does not grant secure status to migrants would motivate them to try to reach Europe irregularly with a hope to have a better future. On top that, the so-called EU-Turkey deal, which came into force on 18 March 2016, creates another layer of structural uncertainty due to the difficulties arising from its implementation. While the deal recognizes Turkey as a ‘safe third country’, it appears to overlook the fact that the county still reserves the geographical restriction to the 1951 Geneva Convention and its 1969 Protocol, meaning that it does not grant full refugee status to people coming from non-European countries, including Syrians. Moreover, there is a certain lack of clarity on the application of human rights standards to vulnerable irregular migrants, casting doubts on the legality of this soft law instrument.


Elif Çetin is based at the Department of International Relations at Yaşar University, and is also a Research Associate at the Von Hügel Institute, St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge where she recently finished a collaborative project on ‘The relevance of Catholic social thought and practice in the field of migration and asylum policy in the UK’ funded by the Charles Plater Trust (application jointly prepared by Dr Sara Silvestri). She is among the members of the research team working on the EU funded Horizon2020 project RESPOND: Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond and contributed to the country report on the legal and policy framework of migration in Turkey (2011-17). She holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge where she wrote her dissertation on ‘Political Debates, Policy Objectives and Outcomes in British and Italian Immigration Politics, 1997-2010’. Previously, Elif was awarded Jean Monnet scholarship and conducted her M.A. at the Department of Political Science, University of Leiden (The Netherlands) and has a B.A. from the Department of International Relations, University of Bilkent (Ankara). She was a visiting scholar at the European University Institute (Florence) and the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) (Oxford). Elif previously worked as an associate expert in The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) (Ankara), and also as a researcher in the project titled ‘Four Decades of European Union Politics towards Turkey’ while being based at The Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael (The Hague). Elif’s research interests and experience include politicisation of immigration, UK, Italian and Turkish immigration politics, political discourse formation, and development of immigration control policies in Europe. She has supervised and published on European politics, politics of immigration control in the UK and Italy, and populist right-wing parties.


New regulatory models in migration governance: the case-study of Tuscany

Andrea Catani, University of Florence

The paper explores the new regulatory phenomenon the Italian legal system is experiencing dealing with immigration, through the discussion of the case-study of Tuscany.

We can observe a new tendency, that of governing the complex issue of immigration through administrative circulars, which belong to the tertiary rules. They have been justified under the flag of public security and protection of legality. However, these provisions often lack legislative foundations and rise problems of constitutional legitimacy and legal uncertainty. This new modus operandi is undermining the principle of legality and the rule of law and it also makes difficult for the migrants to know the measures they are concerned.

At the end of 2018, the Prefect of Florence issued three circulars to the managers of extraordinary reception centres that welcome migrants. Two in particular deserve attention. The first one is that of 11th October, which introduces very strict hourly limits for the evening return and the morning exit of the “guests”. The second one is that of 5th October, which prescribes that the parcels ordered online by the migrants “must be open to the presence of the operators, both for security reasons and to verify that the purchases are compatible with the economic situation declared by the guest”.

It is clear that there are prejudicial effects on two fundamental rights: personal freedom and the right to secrecy of correspondence. Moreover, some authors suggest interpreting that as racial profiling. Certainly, these measures require conducts which are difficult to conciliate with integration and welcoming of migrants.

The critical analysis of this new migration governance, with particular attention to the Tuscan context, can provide interesting insights on how the different levels of government are working to face the challenges and opportunities of integration nowadays.


Andrea Catani is a research fellow at the University of Florence. He graduated in law in 2018 and then he attended the post graduate master in parliamentary studies and research “Silvano Tosi”. His research is focused on migration and integration issues with particular attention to the Tuscan legal framework, and on the problems linked with the sources of law.

Local responses to Syrian Refugees in Turkey: A multi-level governance approach

Rabia Karakaya, Işık University | Vivien Lowndes, University of Birmingham

Turkey hosts the largest community of displaced Syrians (3.6 million). The national government is the main actor responsible for defining the status of refugees, distributing resources and negotiating international agreements. However, it is at the local level where refugees come into contact with the host community and utilise basic services and facilities. A local government perspective is important for understanding Turkey’s refugee policy since more than 96% of Syrian refugees live as urban refugees rather than in camps. However, local government lacks the capacity and resources to address refugees’ needs, or to address integration challenges. Within a highly centralised political system, they do not have the authority to initiate policies, and receive no extra funding to spend on refugees’ needs. Municipalities are, however, developing innovative forms of service delivery, e.g. via partnerships with NGOs, and looking to international donors for funding. 

Situating these local experiences within a multi-level governance (MLG) approach is important for three reasons. First the refugee issue creates both conflict and cooperation with the European Union. Second, an important share of international funding for refugees is directed at municipalities and NGOs working at the local level. Third, it is through the conventions of organisations like the United Nations that a rights-based refugee discourse shapes local policy and practice. Local authorities are operating within a complex multi-level governance field characterised by overlaps and tensions between narratives and policies at the local, national and international levels. 

The paper presents findings from semi-structured interviews in three Istanbul districts, covering municipal actors, representative of national state bodies, and local and international NGOs.The research analyses the ways in which actors operating at different levels interact with one another to shape refugee policy, and assesses the value of the MLG framework in explaining diverse local responses.


Vivien LOWNDES is professor of public policy at the Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham. She undertakes research, teaching and knowledge transfer on local governance and public services, with a particular interest in partnerships, citizen participation, community cohesion and gender issues.  She is currently working with Professor Rabia Karakaya Polat on a British Academy/Newton Fund project to research local government responses to Syrian refugees in Turkey.  Vivien is co-editor (with Dave Marsh and Gerry Stoker) of Theories and Methods in Political Science (Palgrave, 2017), and the author of numerous journal articles in her field.

Rabia Karakaya POLAT is a professor of political science at the Department of International Relations at Işık University. Her research has focused on three streams: political implications of technology (particularly the Internet), critical security studies and more recently critical discourse analysis. Prof. Polat’s research has been funded by Tubitak and the British Academy. Her most recent publication is “Religious Solidarity, Historical Mission and Moral Superiority: Construction of External and Internal ‘Others’ in AKP’s Discourses on Syrian Refugees”, Critical Discourse Studies, 15(5), pp:500-516, 2018.

Life in transit: border struggles, solidarity and face-to-Face encounters

Raffaella Puggioni, University of Sussex

The aim of this paper is to investigate the many face-to-face encounters along the Italo-French frontiers. It will be argued that more attention should be given to the local populations and especially to their involvement in helping, assisting, caring, providing information, shelter to lives in transit. Attention is both on (organised) NGOs and on the spontaneous involvement of the local people, who find themselves in direct contact with migrants. More specifically, this work will explore the following questions: how is migration governance perceived along the borders? What is it that elicits activism and personal involvement? Is it the proximity to the borders, and thus the face-to-face encounters with migrants? Or is it the climate of uncertainty, fear and (in) security at the national and European level that is eliciting activism? In what ways do border- people act against dominant security dispositifs by invoking equal protection of all human life? Is the principle of equality invoked as part of a new ethics of protection? Or does it represent more a re-affirmation of the humanitarian (and Christian) ethics? In short, a focus on the local will complement dominant literature on migration governance, which focuses overwhelming on how to control, discipline and govern migration from an institutional perspective overlooking local practices.


Raffaela Puggioni is Research Associate at the University of Sussex. She has done extensive work on asylum-seekers and refugees in Italy, by looking in particular at questions of reception and protection, detention and resistance, border- struggles and right to life. She is currently working on questions of governmentality, border- Crossers and resilience. Her works have been published in the Journal of Refugee Studies, Political Studies, Citizenship Studies, and Third World Quarterly, and her monograph, Rethinking International Protection: The Sovereign, the State, the Refugee, in Palgrave.

Policy change, agenda-setting and policy (re)formulation of the German migration governance. A multiple stream analysis of the German skilled labour immigration law

Franziska Laudenbach, University of Bremen

German politics has long been conservative with regard to its self-perception as being a country of immigration or not. Although Germany has a long history of immigration of so called “guest workers” since the 1970s, German politics has denied governance of immigration and even refused to name itself a country of migration for a long time. Gradual changes have been taking place since the beginning of the 2000s, though focusing on specific groups of workers or being a response to processes of Europeanisation and not comprising a general approach of immigration governance. Due to this long-lasting struggle with migration policies it seems especially striking that German politics is currently debating a law which aims at facilitating labour migration of skilled workers, finally.

In my paper I argue that the development of the skilled labour immigration law is a result of the coincidence of different streams or “crises”. The so-called refugee crisis in the years 2015 to 2017 as well as the ongoing skills shortage in Germany created the environment which culminated in a coalition agreement of the government demanding the implementation of a general approach of labour migration governance. By means of a multiple streams analysis, this paper scrutinizes the processes resulting in the development of the skilled labour immigration law. It proves that certain interest groups (such as social partners) as well as the national mood influencing debates around migration pushed this political change in particular. Furthermore, it proves that the overall socio-political landscape served as a window of opportunity to address the long overdue policy change in terms of immigration governance in Germany.

My paper takes up recent policy developments in the context of German migration governance in order to trace back which structural features enabled the policy change and how these features influenced the policy output.


Franziska Laudenbach is researcher/PhD student at the University of Bremen, Centre for Labour Studies and Political Education. As a political scientist her research focuses on comparative politics of (vocational) education and lifelong learning, labour migration governance and mobility of migrants.

The impact of ‘national values’ on health-care provisions for refugees and asylum seekers in Germany and Sweden

Mechthild Roos, Augsburg University

GAt a European Council meeting in March 2019, migration was not on the agenda for the first time in years, being perceived not to “qualify as a crisis any longer” (Council official, cited in POLITICO Brussels Playbook from 20 February 2019). This paper addresses the phase of migration governance that follows short-term political crisis management. Namely, it sheds light on refugees’ access to different EU member states’ health-care systems as an important aspect of refugees’ mid- to long-term integration into host countries’ societies. Drawing on the concept of ‘national values’ as defined by Marmor et al. (2006), this paper identifies different sets of norms and values in, and their impact on, national migration and health policies, focussing specifically on Germany and Sweden.

The paper aims to demonstrate to what extent certain normative understandings of health – e.g. as human right, legal standard, or social benefit – influence policy provisions for refugees’ and asylum seekers’ health-care access beyond basic checks performed upon arrival in a host country, and emergency care. It also discusses how related policies are shaped by ‘national values’ regarding the state’s general role in the provision of health care, individuals’ claims to and common perceptions of health services e.g. as a benefit which has to be deserved, or as an element of universal protection.

These ‘national values’ will be traced in related national legislation and in documents that provide insights into the normative frameworks underlying policy-making processes, such as statements by ministries and responsible state agencies. Further sources like parliamentary documents and election manifestos will reveal which norms and values are commonly accepted or contested in the respective countries. A comparison of the different sets of ‘national values’ and their respective impact on national policies will allow to gain a better understanding of varying access to different EU health-care systems.


Mechthild Roos is a Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Augsburg University. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Luxembourg (2018). In her current research, she analyses different EU countries' health-care regulations with regard to refugees and asylum seekers. In addition, she studies in different research projects the informal dimension of EU politics, the activism of EU supranational institutions, the institutional development of the European Parliament (EP), and the evolution of a European social policy. Since September 2017, she has been involved in the global data collection project ‘Varieties of Democracy’ (V-Dem) as country coordinator for Luxembourg. From September 2019, she is an elected member of the UACES Committee.

From legal framework to practice. Integration of refugees in Romania

Alexandra Porumbescu, University of Craiova

Romania, one of the newest members of the European Union, is considered, traditionally, a country of emigration. However, in the last years, given the international and regional contexts involving the arrival of numerous immigrants at the European borders, more and more people arrived in this country benefiting from internationally protected status, such as refugees or asylum seekers, thus enlisting Romania as a destination country. This paper is structured on two main areas of research. The first one consists of an analysis of the legal frame under which these population movements occur, reviewing both the international treaties and norms Romania has agreed to, and the internal legislation that regulates this field. The second part of the study consists in an overview of the receiving procedures and the receiving facilities created for refugees and asylum seekers in Romania. Our analysis of the social outcomes of these integrative measures designed for refugees and asylum-seekers in Romania will be supported by the portraiture of the story of some of their beneficiaries.


Alexandra Porumbescu teaches at the International Relations and European Studies and Political Sciences specializations within the Faculty of Social Sciences, at the University of Craiova. PhD in sociology at the same institution, she published several studies in the area of international migration, the major topic of her PhD studies. Other papers approached topics such as the connection between migration and social change, social integration of migrants and refugees, globalization and its impact on the European Union, the social effects of globalization, or European policies.