Download publication

Policy Contribution

The case for a common European refugee policy

This Policy Contribution discusses the needs for a European migration policy, and considers where more policy coordination is actually needed.

By: and Date: March 20, 2017 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

Legal and political issues left the management of the 2015-16 refugee crisis mostly in the hands of national governments, but this is incompatible with an integrated economic area that has largely abolished internal borders. It is also incompatible with some founding European Union principles, such as the existence of a common European policy on the mobility of people.

A greater role for European institutions and policies is needed both for policing the common borders and imposing common welcome policy standards for refugees, based on best practices. EU measures are also required to face the long-term problems related to immigration, as it is very likely that economic and demographic differences between the EU and neighbouring countries will lead to further crises in the future. Planning for this requires ample and dedicated resources, and a long-term strategy based on agreements with immigrants’ countries of origin, a task that no EU country can pursue alone.

Some progress has been made to strengthen the role of the EU, with the adoption of new directives, such as the Asylum Procedures Directive, and the establishment of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. However, the situation is still far from satisfactory. There are major differences in refugee welcome and integration policies in EU countries, as shown by differences in asylum request outcomes in different countries and the different integration processes. There is also a serious lack of information about the skills and competences of refugees in different countries. This is a problem because this information is a necessary first step for an integrated welcome policy that might transform a challenge into an opportunity for aging European economies.

Such differences between EU countries are not only inequitable but also inefficient. They lead to massive distortions in the functioning of European labour markets and create incentives for refugees to seek asylum in specific countries. Moreover, the promise made by EU institutions of a refugee relocation programme is presently not being kept, leaving the countries of first entry to carry disproportionate burdens. Legal procedures are part of the problem because the Dublin Regulation, approved under different circumstances, obliges the first-entry country to examine asylum requests. However, political obstacles play the main role. EU countries are very different in terms of their cultural attitudes towards immigration and it is difficult to impose a common solution on them. Practical solutions, based on the countries that do not want refugees making compensation payments, are probably the most realistic avenues to follow.

View comments
Read about event

Upcoming Event

Nov
7-9
09:30

Global Think Tank Summit 2018

The 2018 Global Think Tank Summit is organised by Bruegel and he Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the University of Pennsylvania. It will be held in Brussels on 7-9 November.

Topic: Energy & Climate, Global Economics & Governance Location: Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Bruxelles
Read article More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Director’s Cut: Europe’s migration policy challenge

Immigration is one of the most contentious policy matters currently facing the EU. In this Director’s Cut of ‘The Sound of Economics’ Bruegel director Guntram Wolff welcomes Ana Palacio, member of the Spanish council of state and former foreign affairs minister, as well as Bruegel visiting fellow Elina Ribakova for a constructive discussion as to which approaches will yield the best results.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Date: September 14, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Youth UP Europe: transforming the migration narrative

This joint Bruegel - European Youth Forum event will discuss how we can shift the narrative of migration to a more positive one ahead of the European elections next year?

Speakers: Carina Autengruber, Zsolt Darvas, Thodoris Georgakopoulos, Lilika Trikalinou and Sofia Zaharaki Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: The American College of Greece, 6th Gravias Street, GR-153 42, Agia Paraskevi Athens, Greece Date: September 6, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Wir brauchen gezielte Migration für unsere Renten

Deutschland benötigt die geordnete Zuwanderung produktiver Arbeitskräfte aus dem Ausland. Um diesen Prozess besser zu steuern, will die Bundesregierung nun ein Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz auf den Weg bringen.

By: Jochen Andritzky Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: August 22, 2018
Read article Download PDF

External Publication

European Parliament

EU funds for migration, asylum and integration policies

This study provides an overview, analysis and evaluation of how EU funds for migration, asylum and integration policies have been used. Using publicly available information, insights from interviews with various stakeholders and a survey of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the authors evaluate the allocation, implementation and oversight of EU funds.

By: Francesco Chiacchio, Zsolt Darvas, Konstantinos Efstathiou, Inês Goncalves Raposo and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament, Testimonies Date: May 23, 2018
Read article More by this author

Blog Post

Europe needs a broader discussion of its future

When thinking about what will determine the prosperity and well-being of citizens living in the euro area, five issues are central. This column, part of VoxEU's Euro Area Reform debate, argues that the important CEPR Policy Insight by a team of French and German economists makes an important contribution to two of them, but leaves aside some of the most crucial ones: European public goods, a proper fiscal stance and major national reforms. It also argues that its compromise on sovereign debt appears unbalanced.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: May 4, 2018
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Structural Reforms 0.0 – The case for strengthening institutions

Improvement in institutional quality, particularly concerning the rule of law, is the most essential and urgent structural reform the EU can make. Without it, the obtrusive lack of trust in the EU – which has thus far hampered expansionary and reformist efforts – will persist.

By: Maria Demertzis and Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 3, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

European income inequality begins to fall once again

Following almost a decade of relative stability, income inequality within the EU recorded a sizeable decline in 2016, reaching its lowest value since 1989. The fall of both within- and between-country inequality contributed to the 2016 reduction in overall EU inequality.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 30, 2018
Read article Download PDF

Policy Contribution

Making a reality of Europe’s Capital Markets Union

It is high time to make the CMU project real.The authors of this publication suggest that capital markets will only transform with concrete action and that ESMA reform should be a priority but cannot be the only one. Policymakers need to set priorities that will move the project forward.

By: André Sapir, Nicolas Véron and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: April 27, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

The debate on euro-area reform

A paper jointly written by 14 French and German economists set off a debate about the reform of euro-area macroeconomic governance. We review economists’ opinions about it.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: April 16, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Euro-area governance: Where next?

Bruegel deputy director Maria Demertzis hosts this episode of 'The Sound of Economics', with Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs correspondent at the Financial Times, and Manfred Weber, chair of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, joining Bruegel director Guntram Wolff for a discussion of the future of euro-area governance.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 1, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Beyond border control, migrant integration policies must be revived

Border control and burden-sharing of refugees is just one aspect of immigration policies. Greater financial inclusion and the tailoring of regulations to refugees' specific needs would benefit not only the refugees themselves, but also native citizens.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 23, 2018
Load more posts