Burden Sharing: The International Politics of Refugee Protection (Working Paper #134)

Eiko R. Thielemann, London School of Economics and Political Science

Abstract: This article shows that the refugee burdens among Western states are also very unequally distributed and that this constitutes a problem not only for individual states, but also for the EU as whole. It argues that despite many obstacles, the development of regional or international burdensharing regimes is indeed desirable. Attempts to explain or justify steps towards such a system do not have to rely solely on notions of solidarity but can be justified by more traditional interest-based motivations. However, it suggests that the EU’s main burden-sharing initiatives which rely largely on policy harmonisation will not achieve the Union’s objectives in this area. It will be argued that market-based burden-sharing mechanisms need to be explored further and that such market driven policies when combined with policy harmonisation and quota-based initiatives are likely to contribute to a more equitable, efficient and effective refugee burden-sharing system.

Working Paper #134 »