Reforming the EU asylum policy: unilateralism, ‘coalitions of the willing’, and the new pact on migration and asylum

22 January 2021

Lack of fair responsibility sharing in asylum is one of the thorniest policy issues currently facing the EU. The EU’s responsibility allocation system, underpinned by the so-called Dublin Regulation, as designed undermines fair sharing of responsibility between the Member States. It allocates most responsibility to states at the EU’s external maritime borders in practice, notwithstanding that fair sharing in asylum is a legal requirement in EU law. More deeply, it fails to reflect asylum provision as a regional public good. Instead, once responsibility is assigned, it is for the individual Member State alone to provide for the refugee. Refugee immobility permeates the system, hindering further redistributive effects.

Lilian Tsourdi

Lilian Tsourdi is an Assistant Professor of European Union Law and Dutch Research Council grantee at the Law Faculty of Maastricht University, as well as a visiting professor at Sciences Po Paris/Paris School for International Affairs. She is a member of the coordination team of the Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe, the ‘Odysseus Network’. Lilian was previously a Departmental Lecturer in International Human Rights and Refugee Law at the Refugee Studies Centre of the University of Oxford, a Max Weber Fellow at the Law Faculty of the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence; a researcher at the Migration Policy Centre of the EUI, the Institute for European Studies of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), and the Centre Charles De Visscher for International and European Law of UC Louvain; as well as an advisor for a Member of the European Parliament. She obtained her PhD from the Law Faculty and the Institute for European Studies of the ULB (December 2016).  

Lilian’s expertise lies in EU and Public International Law with a focus on fundamental rights, asylum and migration. She received two prestigious grants, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship by the European Commission and a VENI grant by the Dutch Research Council for her new research line on EU financial governance. She has published her research widely (e.g. Human Rights Law Review, Common Market Law Review), has co-edited a book Exploring the boundaries of refugee law: current protection challenges (with J.P. Gaucci and M. Giuffré, Brill 2015), and two special journal issues (RSQ 2016; MJECL 2017). Her monograph on the constitutional foundations and administrative governance of the EU asylum policy is forthcoming in Oxford University Press, while she is also currently working on a Research Handbook on EU Migration and Asylum Law (with P. De Bruycker, Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2020). 

Lilian regularly undertakes consultancy for EU institutions and international and non-governmental organisations, and has contributed to the EASO Training Curriculum as a member of the EASO Reference Group on behalf of the Odysseus Academic Network. Upon invitation, she has given numerous lectures and policy presentations (e.g. EUI, NYU, KU Leuven, International Association of Refugee Law judges, European Commission Contact Group Meeting, European Parliament, UNHCR Global Consultations).