Working Paper No. 1265

The Refugee Crisis and the Reinvigoration of the Nation State: Does the European Union Have a Common Refugee Policy?

Published: February 26, 2019, revised May 2019Pages: 30Keywords: Asylum seekers; European Union; Migration policy; Refugee crisis; Schengen Agreement JEL-codes: F22; F53; H37; J61; K37

The Refugee Crisis and the Reinvigoration of the Nation State: Does the European Union Have a Common Refugee Policy? Magnus Henrekson, Özge Öner and Tino Sanandaji


The European Union officially proclaims to have a common refugee policy. However, the common treaties leave a great deal of discretion to the individual member countries, which allows them to regulate refugee migration while still upholding international treaties. Member countries have authority over border controls, the processing of asylum applications as well as economic benefits provided to refugees.

We show that the differences in refugee flows are so extensive and systematic that the existence of a common EU refugee policy is debatable. The commitments made by the member countries are largely voluntary, and refugee policy is mainly determined at the national level. The discrepancies between the member countries strongly signal that the European Union may not be an optimal region for a common refugee policy.

A refugee policy should instead be determined at the national level concordant with the regional and local level, where integration measures are implemented in practice. Meanwhile, the European Union can play an important role through refugee aid to afflicted countries, treaties with third countries, rescue actions in the Mediterranean and control of the external EU borders.

Magnus Henrekson

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Ph: +46 (0)8 665 4502
magnus.henrekson@ifn.se

Özge Öner

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Ph: +46 8 665 4519
oo263@cam.ac.uk

Integrating Immigrants into the Nordic Labour Markets

An Overall Perspective

Pages-from-2019-Calmfors-Gassen---Integrating-Immigrants-into-the-Nordic-Labour-Markets.gif

Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden face similar problems of integrating large groups of immigrants, especially low-educated ones from outside the EU, into their labour markets. In this volume, edited by Lars Calmfors, IFN, and Nora Sánchez Gassen in cooperation with researchers from across the Nordic Region analyse how labour market integration of immigrants can be promoted. 

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