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January 4, 1999
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v2.1 Reference

Safe Third Countries

Extending the EU Asylum and Immigration Policies to Central and Eastern Europe

The refugee issue has always been controversial and Lavenex's analyses add fuel to an already heated debate. She analyses the various bi- and multilateral processes by which the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs) are being gradually incorporated into a restrictive refugee regime established among the EU member states, in which the CEECs serve as "gate-keepers" for refugees and immigrants heading towards Western Europe.

At a time when many transition countries are trying to enter the EU, Lavenex highlights the CEECs consent to adapt to Western European policies aimed at fighting illegal immigration and reducing the numbers of asylum seekers as a political bargaining tool in exchange for future membership in the EU. She also argues that the regime undermines the values of international refugee protection and diffuses states' responsibilities by establishing a system of negative redistribution for the handling of asylum claims.

Safe Third Countries is the first comprehensive study on the extension of the emergent European refugee regime and highlights, in an innovative manner, the complex entanglement of domestic policies, European integration and international relations.

About the Author

Sandra Lavenex is at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, Florence, Italy. She is the author of two previous titles on refugee issues.


"A highly original contribution. There is no comparable book on the market, neither in terms of the quality of the subject matter, nor in terms of the quality of the analytical presentation of the refugee issue in Europe."—Professor Klaus Eder

"The author usefully identifies trends in the West-to-East propagation of anti-asylum measures, notably the safe third country doctrine as implemented by bi-lateral pre-admission agreements."—Arthur C. Helton

9789639116443 : safe-third-countries-lavenex
Paperback / softback
204 Pages
$21.95 USD

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