The Europeanization of Asylum Policy: An assessment of the EU impact on asylum applications and recognitions rates

Dimiter Toshkov and Laura de Haan

Journal of European Public Policy (2013), vol.20, issue 5, pp.661-83


Asylum policy in the European nation-states has been a subject of increasing influence form the European Union (EU) over the last 12 years since the call for the establishment of a Common European Asylum System. This article presents an assessment of the EU impact on the asylum policy outcomes in the 27 member states, Norway and Switzerland. The article focuses on three central hypotheses about the effects of Europeanization - a race to the bottom, convergence, and burden sharing. Using aggregate and origin-specific asylum data for the period 1999-2010 provided by the UNHCR, we show that the increasing Europeanization of asylum policy has not resulted in a race to the bottom in which asylum recognition rates and the numbers of admitted refugees have eroded. Contrary to existing literature, we find some evidence for convergence of the overall asylum recognition rates but important national differences in the recognition of applicants from the same country of origin persist. Europeanization has not led to more equal distribution of the applications and recognitions of asylum status in Europe. Overall, the EU has had only a limited impact on the changes in asylum policy outcomes.


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