Ongoing and concluded PhDs

PhD researcher or student information

Nina Guérin

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Discipline: Political Science

Degrees BA: Social Sciences


Empirical Social Science Research

International Affairs

PhD Research Information

One wave of reforms, many outputs
The diffusion of European asylum policies beyond Europe

Brief description:

Since the 1990s thirteen of the fifteen states of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) have passed asylum policy reforms. Yet, while some of the reforms have resulted in an alignment with European asylum policies, others have not. Neither Moldova nor Tunisia, for instance, had a policy to regulate refugee flows before the asylum policy reform wave. Moldova reformed its asylum policies in 2002 and introduced an asylum policy leading to the alignment with European policies: The Moldovan ‘Law on the Status of Refugees’ of 2002 grants asylum seekers fair chances to get asylum and an extensive set of rights. Tunisia, on the other hand, restricted its reforms to the signature of a cooperation agreement with the UNHCR in 2011 and did not align with European asylum policies. The aim of this thesis is to address the question under which conditions ENP states align their asylum policies with those of European member states. To account for the alignment of ENP states with European policies, a wide array of possible explanatory factors has been advanced in the literature. However, current explanations remain on a case-specific level, and thus fall short of accounting for the broader variation in asylum policy reform in the EU’s neighbourhood. Drawing on the concept of international policy diffusion, this thesis seeks to identify the relevant drivers of alignment with European asylum policies. To do so, it employs a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) across thirteen ENP countries and a process tracing analysis of one case of alignment with European asylum policies: Moldova. Simply put, the results show that ENP states align with European asylum policies because they want to maximise their reputation as (good) democratic or European states. This means that ENP states emulate European asylum policies when, and only when, they have an interest to align with European asylum policies. Whether the EU exerts pressure on or provides incentives for ENP states to adopt European asylum policies, to the contrary, does not affect the diffusion of asylum policies from Europe to ENP states.


Keywords: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), Policy diffusion, Moldova, Mixed methods, europeanisation, European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), EU external governance, Asylum policy

Language(s) of writing: English

Country: Germany

Home University:

Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich


Department of Political Science

Supervisor: Berthold Rittberger
Start date: 01-04-2015
PhD current status: PhD Ongoing
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Added to catalogue on: 11-10-2018

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