CEASEVAL - Evaluation of the Common European Asylum System

Evaluation of the Common European Asylum System under Pressure and Recommendations for Further Development (CEASEVAL)

Funding Period: November 2017-October 2019

Partner in Finland: University of Helsinki, Adjunct Professor Östen Wahlbeck

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 770037.

Background and aim of the project

Since 2015, migration towards and within Europe has created a ‘stress’ in the EU asylum and migration systems, challenging the adequacy of the legal design of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). This impacted the implementation of both the CEAS and national asylum systems in practice and called its further harmonisation into question. The notion of harmonisation is not a fixed term, but rather incorporates varied meanings and practices. CEASEVAL will carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the CEAS in terms of its framework and practice. It will make an analysis of harmonisation which goes beyond the formal institutional setting and takes into account the complex relations among the actors engaged from the local and the national levels, to the European level, in order to explain the success and the failure of coordinated action between these varied actors.

Research Objectives

Based on an interdisciplinary and multilevel research approach, CEASEVAL will innovatively

1) combine multiple disciplines in order to explore different perspectives of the CEAS,

2) develop a new theoretical framework of multilevel governance of the CEAS, which will be empirically tested across several EU Member States and third countries,

3) provide a critical evaluation of the CEAS by identifying and analysing discrepancies in the transposition and incorporation of European standards in the area of asylum in domestic legislation, as well as differences in their implementation, and

4) elaborate new policies by constructing different alternatives of implementing a common European asylum system. On this basis, CEASEVAL will determine which kind of harmonisation (legislative, implementation, etc.) and solidarity is possible and necessary.


The results of the research will be addressed to different audiences:

  • CEASEVAL will provide evidence of the current impacts of the CEAS and inform policy reforms, while developing management strategies for policymakers to adequately respond to changing circumstances. It will identify challenges and will build up scenarios and solutions. CEASEVAL will also support the policymakers to increase the effectiveness of the implementation of CEAS from a multilevel perspective based on solidarity.
  • CEASEVAL will develop a theoretical framework combining legal, policy, discourse and ethnographic analyses of migration and asylum systems on different scales in Europe. It will enhance the knowledge and understanding of solidarity and harmonisation in the context of CEAS, as well as develop new multidisciplinary methodological approaches.
  • Broader public: CEASEVAL will enhance the awareness of public opinion about migration and asylum in Europe, especially in a context of increasing right-wing populism on the one hand and an increasingly welcoming society on the other hand.

More information about the consortium and the evaluation is available on the CEASEVAL homepage

Published reports on Finland:

Wahlbeck, Östen (2019): National Report on the Governance of the Asylum Reception System in Finland. In CEASEVAL RESEARCH ON THE COMMON EUROPEAN ASYLUM SYSTEM (19). Available online at http://ceaseval.eu/publications/WP3_Finland.pdf

Pyrhönen, Niko & Wahlbeck, Östen (2018): The Finnish National Report on the Politicization of the “Refugee Crisis” in Public Debate. In: CEASEVAL RESEARCH ON THE COMMON EUROPEAN ASYLUM SYSTEM (09). Online available at: http://ceaseval.eu/publications.

Published articles on Finland:

Wahlbeck, Östen (2018) To Share or Not to Share Responsibility? Finnish Refugee Policy and the Hesitant Support for a Common European Asylum System, Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 17(3): 299–316. DOI: 10.1080/15562948.2018.1468048

Wahlbeck, Östen (2020) “Suomen EU-puheenjohtajuus ja EU:n yhteinen turvapaikkajärjestelmä”. Liikkeessä yli rajojen -blogi. 23.1.2020. Available at: https://liikkeessaylirajojen.fi/

The Ethical Review Statement of the University of Helsinki Ethical Review Board in Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences:

More information about the project is available on the CEASEVAL homepage