The EU’s asylum system and refugee policy were put to the test in 2015. Östen Wahlbeck, University Lecturer in Sociology at the Swedish School of Social Science, is part of a European research consortium that will assess the European asylum system with funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.

The long summer of migration in 2015 and the increased number of asylum-seekers reaching the EU placed major pressure on the Union’s current legal, political and administrative systems. Developments since then have revealed shortcomings in both the member states’ admission policies and European cooperation in asylum issues.

Östen Wahlbeck

Östen Wahlbeck.

The research consortium CEASEVAL – Evaluation of the Common European Asylum System under Pressure and Recommendations for Further Development acquired €2 million of funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme after tough competition with 12 other consortia. The multidisciplinary consortium includes 14 partners and is led by Professor Birgit Glorius from the Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany. Östen Wahlbeck represents Finland and the University of Helsinki in the two-year project for the evaluation of the European asylum system that will begin in November 2017.

“The funding is recognition of the long-term work completed by my research group and our partners abroad,” Wahlbeck says.

The consortium will both evaluate the current system and issue recommendations for improving it. In the call for funding, the European Commission outlined the need for a system for providing orderly and safe pathways for persons seeking international protection. One of the consortium’s extensive research questions is the level of harmonisation required, acceptable and sustainable in the European asylum system. The different research ventures to be undertaken by the consortium include the analysis of the weaknesses and shortcomings of the European asylum system in general and the Dublin arrangements in particular. The consortium will also examine the national political contexts of the member states and the national discourses concerning migration, asylum and political borders. In addition, the consortium will investigate the positions of the member states regarding the distribution of responsibilities between the member states and the relocation of asylum-seekers in the EU.

“I will be responsible for collecting Finnish material for the international comparisons and analyses that will be conducted as part of the evaluation,” says Wahlbeck, who is the only Nordic participant in the project.

Additional information:

University lecturer Östen Wahlbeck, +358504154594