Accepted paper:

Universal rights, European laws and national practices


Stephan Duennwald (Centro de Estudos Africanos, ISCTE IUL, Lisbon)

Paper short abstract:

The enlargement of the European Union caused the adjustment of new member states' asylum law to EU standards. New bureaucracies and facilities emerged. The paper explores the conditions and consequences of this development from a transnational NGO network point of view.

Paper long abstract:

Since the May 1, 2004 the European Union has grown from 15 to 25 memberstates. Subsequently, the external EU-border has shifted to Middle Europe. As a condition for membership the new states had to adjust their asylum- and foreigners law to western European standards. Additionally, the Geneva Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights had to be implemented. The integration of new memberstates into the "room of liberty, security and right", according to the Amsterdam treaty, was accompanied by the change of the new states from explicit transit nations to refugees-receiving countries. This entailed an array of strong changes. Supported by the EU commission, UNHCR and single memberstates (particularly Germany and Austria), the new EU-members not only rebuilt their legal frameworks concerning asylum seekers and foreigners, but took up measurements for more efficiancy in migration control at the borders (both external and internal ones). Consequently, new bureaucracies and facilities to manage newly immigrated migrants and refugeeswere set up. The practical implementation of measurements regarding refugees showed that the treatment of refugees and migrants tied up to the specific "national" forms of dealing with strangers. Under the impact of expectations of their western neighbours, own "traditional" patterns, EU and international legal frameworks as well as the tangible experiences with refugees each of the new memberstates of the EU develops its own model to deal with refugees and immigration. This paper will be based on practical experience and analysis arising from a cooperation project of refugee- and human rights organizations that tries to examine and improve the reception conditions for refugees in seven memberstates of the EU (two old and five new ones).

panel W074
Neither here nor there: locating and identifying Europe