Escaping Populism – Safeguarding Minority Rights: Non‐Majoritarian Dynamics in European Policy‐Making

17 Pages Posted: 10 May 2018

See all articles by Eiko Thielemann

Eiko Thielemann

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Natascha Zaun

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: May 2018

Abstract

Contrary to earlier predictions, communitarization in the area of asylum policies has not led to an erosion of refugee rights. Instead, there is growing evidence that EU asylum harmonization has safeguarded existing standards and even enhanced the rights of asylum‐seekers and refugees in Europe. We seek to explain this by building on the insights of principal‐agent theory. We argue that delegation to supranational institutions can strengthen non‐majoritarian policy dynamics and shield EU policy‐makers from populist pressures for further immigration restrictions that national governments are often confronted with. We support this argument empirically through a systematic longitudinal analysis of the evolution of EU asylum policies. In particular, we seek to assess the motivation for and impact of greater delegation to EU institutions on rights developments for asylum‐seekers and refugees. We also explain to what extent EU policy‐making has changed with the EU's response to the 'Syrian refugee crisis'.

Keywords: asylum, European Union institutions, justice and home affairs, minority rights, populism, principal‐agent theory

Suggested Citation

Thielemann, Eiko and Zaun, Natascha, Escaping Populism – Safeguarding Minority Rights: Non‐Majoritarian Dynamics in European Policy‐Making (May 2018). JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 56, Issue 4, pp. 906-922, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3176267 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcms.12689

Eiko Thielemann (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Natascha Zaun

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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