EU Asylum Policies and International Law

Hasan Bahadir

Student thesis: Master thesis


The European Union’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis sparked debate about a breach with international law on refugee protection and basic human rights. This thesis aims to understand the definition of a refugee in international law and what this implies for who is subject to that definition and how the EU treats that definition. This is then used together with the EU’s asylum policies and her refugee deal with Turkey to analyze what implications this case study has for theories of international law and politics. The analysis is based on a pragmatic approach that allows a qualitative analysis integrating theories that are normally isolated in different research traditions with each their own ontological assumptions.
The analysis concludes that the EU’s asylum policies and the deal agreed with Turkey constitute an ambiguous approach to refugee protection. The insights provided by theories of positivist, realist and critical legal scholars of international law are applied to discuss based on this case to provide a contribution to the debate. I argue based on this analysis that the key actors on the area of international law, as well as the impact of politics and interests, the corresponding interpretations of pieces of international law and the likelihood of negative consequences are all factors of the same equation of international law, though the individual significance and share of each of these factors of the equation of international law is yet to be determined.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages63
SupervisorsHubert Buch-Hansen