The 2015 immigration knot between The European Union and The Balkans

Jud, Sara
This thesis explores the European Union’s (EU) response to the 2015 migration wave. It examines the impact of migration influx on the existing European asylum regulations. It then looks into the Western Balkan route and its consequences for the transit Balkan region and refugees. The positions of concerned actors – the EU, the Balkan states, migrants/refugees, and Turkey are pointed out. In this regard, the thesis shows how their interests are conflicted and thus consequently no common position is worked out. The thesis argues that the internally divided EU is exaggerating over the migration ‘burden’ and failing to assure both the temporary protection mechanism as well as the application of the solidarity clause. It transferred the problem of refugees into a refugee problem by transfer of the apparent ‘burden’ into the wider Balkan ‘buffer-zone’ through the mechanisms of Europeanization and enhancement of the safe third country concept. For Turkey, this was a matter of linkage between migration, visa liberalisation, and readmission. The thesis concludes that the refugee issue became instrumentalised as a bargaining chip between the EU and the Balkan states as well as Turkey which all expected trade-offs for the desired migration management that exceeded their capacities. The most vulnerable part of the actors’ triangle, the refugees, were sacrificed, while the international asylum system was undermined and weekend  


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Citation Formats
S. Jud, “The 2015 immigration knot between The European Union and The Balkans,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2017.