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The Architecture of Failure: The Institutional Origins of the Refugee Crisis

100 Eggers Hall

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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

Center for European Studies


The Architecture of Failure: The Institutional Origins of the Refugee Crisis

A talk by Sara Wallace Goodman, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, Irvine 

Europe’s Refugee Crisis—where over 1.2 million first time asylum claims were submitted in 2015 alone—was defined not only by unprecedented volume but by uncharacteristic lack of coordination and noncompliance to EU asylum rules. How could a series of Community policies fail to quell the very problems that integration and coordination are designed to overcome, namely competitive state behavior like free-riding and non-compliance? In other words, what was it about asylum policy and the refugee crisis that facilitated not only a default to national solutions but a defiance of EU authority? Taking an historical institutional approach to the architecture of common asylum policy (looking at origins, sequencing, and policy transfer), I illustrate how common asylum policy was never defined by coordination and solidarity, nor did these goals evolve over time. This analysis problematizes the current EU policy status quo (“differential integration”) and considers what limited coordination in areas of people-hood portend for EU political development and authority. 

Sponsoring Departments: Center for European Studies, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Department of Political Science 

For more information, contact Havva Karakas-Keles,   

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Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.