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Copying instead of harmonizing? Policy diffusion and the convergence of safe country of origin policies in Europe

Claudia Engelmann
Maastricht Universiteit
Claudia Engelmann
Maastricht Universiteit
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper explains the convergence of asylum policy across European countries by policy diffusion. It is commonly assumed that asylum policies vary considerably across the European Union. The paper is a first attempt to show that this assumption no longer holds. There are certain issues in the field of asylum, where member states increasingly adopt similar policies. While one could expect that – in the light of the envisaged Common European Asylum System – EU structures aim at facilitating policy harmonization, this is not a valid argument for certain policy aspects. The example of safe country of origin polices illustrates the case of policies which remain solely within the scope of member state authority. Whereas there is no formal cooperation at the EU-level, several international fora facilitate asylum-information exchange between states. The impact of such informal cooperation will be analyzed by looking at the extent to which safe country of origin policies converge across 27 EU member states. The quantitative analysis is supplemented by interviews in order to show how international organizations help to diffuse norms.