Publications Books

Right of asylum: history of a European failure Paris : Ifri, 2015, 47 p. (Coll. Les études Ifri)

Since the April 2015 shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, the right of asylum has become a priority in European talks. However, states have remained reluctant and sometimes hostile to measures of solidarity recommended by the European Commission. Such tensions raise the question of the European Union’s capacity to enforce a European asylum policy.


Despite a 30 years old cooperation introduced with the Schengen agreements, the European Union fails to suggest a shared answer to the reception of refugees.

In a context where asylum applications have risen to meet back high levels in Europe, failures in terms of reception and integration of refugees reinforce the lack of confidence between Member States. Above all they struggle finding an answer to the challenge of protecting refugees, who have never been so many since World War II and are now brought to take more and more risks on their way to Europe.

Despite the European institutions’ many declarations and proposals, Member States have shown reluctance when it comes to adapting the European asylum system to the situation of refugees in the 21st century. They struggle going beyond national interests therefore undermining ideals of European cooperation and Europe’s place in the world.

The study addresses the unfulfilled promises of Europe on asylum and explores the modest and aborted attempts to enforce right to asylum.

The Center for Migration and Citizenship of the French institute for international relations aims at giving tools for an analysis of the current crisis and to reintroduce refugees’ protection in the European agenda.

This study is published in French only – Le droit d'asile : histoire d'un échec européen


asylum migration