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Knocking on Europe's door... : Investigating modes of governing and the principle of solidarity as EU member states respond to the asylum pressure on its southern borders


  • Marie Brink Nørager

Summary, in English

Two thousand and fourteen saw a drastic increase in asylum seekers knocking on Europe’s door. A great many arrived at Europe’s southern borders, with Italy as the main entrance gate, after having embarked on the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. Due to the limited number of EU entrance countries and the growing pressure on these southern European countries, the Dublin Regulation, as the corner stone of EU’s asylum policy, has increasingly become a contentious issue in the EU, fuelling conflict and distrust among the member states. On this background, the thesis sets out to investigate how the EU member states govern on the basis of Dublin, analysing ‘modes of governing’, the principle of solidarity, and the relation between the EU member states in attempting to answer this question. The thesis departs from classic European integration theories as a framework for understanding how the EU member states cooperate in the asylum area. Instead, the thesis proposes an original, theoretical distinction between management and governance as two different ‘modes of governing,’ which implies adding a normative perspective to theoretical perspectives on EU member state cooperation. These two modes of governing are investigated in relation to a particular case study, i.e. a conflict between Italy and Denmark that played out during autumn 2014. This conflict was related to Italy’s responsibility under the Dublin regulation to obtain fingerprints in accordance with the EURODAC regulation. The case is analysed by way of a critical discourse analysis of a number of policy papers from Italy, Denmark and the Council of the European Union. Through this analysis, it becomes clear how the EU member states, in order to avoid a renegotiation of the Dublin regulation, have turned to management as the dominating mode of governing. This allows them to uphold that while the Dublin system might be a common framework, the responsibility for upholding its elements falls on the individual member states. Thus, a major result of the investigation is that solidarity between EU member states has so far been limited to compensatory economic solidarity (management mode of governing) to make up for the apparent lack of intra solidarity (governance mode of governing).







Examensarbete för masterexamen (Två år)


  • Law and Political Science


  • EU
  • asylum policy
  • the Dublin Regulation
  • management
  • governance
  • modes of governing
  • Italy
  • Denmark
  • solidarity
  • irregular migration
  • EU’s southern borders.


  • Anamaria Dutceac Segesten (Biträdande Lektor)