Last week, Zvezda Vankova and Pauline Melin presented the findings of their PhD theses at the last MCEL Research Forum of this academic year.
Zvezda's thesis focuses on circular migration from the Eastern neighbourhood to the EU and the rights of migrant workers in Bulgaria and Poland.
The PhD explores the concept of circular migration which has been on the agenda of international organisations and the EU for more than 15 years and is currently part of the Global Compact for Migration, as well as the Legal Migration Fitness Check evaluation of the European Commission. It contributes to the understanding of the meaning of this concept in general, in the EU context, as well as more specifically with regards to the Eastern neighbourhood. By adopting a rights-based approach, the PhD sheds light on the different legal and policy instruments that have been adopted to implement circular migration policies and their consequences for the rights of migrant workers. The dissertation fills a gap in the academic and policy literature by providing a comprehensive picture of the formation and implementation of the EU’s circular migration approach that has developed on the basis of both EU and national instruments, which was missing hitherto.
Pauline's research is titled 'The External Dimension of EU Social Security Coordination: Towards a Common EU Approach'
In the EU, while the internal dimension social security coordination is regulated by uniform set of rules found in Regulations 883/2004, 987/2009 and 1231/2010, the external dimension is composed of a patchwork of instruments. The Member States are the primary actors with over 350 bilateral agreements concluded with third countries. The EU has also adopted agreements with third countries (e.g. the EU-Turkey Association Agreement and Decision 3/80) or unilateral measures ( EU migration Directives) that contain elements of social security coordination. In addition, international organisations have set out minimum standards in that field. The first aim of the thesis is to identify the different elements of social security coordination found in EU, national and international instruments. A second aim is to develop a common approach to the external dimension of EU social security coordination. Two policy options are considered: the conclusion of EU agreements or the development of an EU model agreement. Based on institutional and substantive reasons, it is argued that the option of a model agreement is better suited to the development of a common EU approach.
MCEL wishes Zvezda and Pauline the best of luck with their upcoming PhD defenses!