Our research

Emancipatoriy Legal Policy in Refugee Law

Researcher: Maximilian Pichl

In recent years legal battles against the EU border regime were fought increasingly before the European Courts. In particular, human rights organizations participated in strategic litigation to reach judgements of fundamental importance. Some of the legal battles had immediate consequences for the crisis of the EU border regime of 2015, such as the lawsuits prohibiting deportations to Greece under the Dublin-III regulation or the condemnation of push-back operations by Italian border authorities in the Mediterranean sea.

The study examines limits and possibilites of emancipatory legal policies. Working with the Critical Legal Theory of Wolfgang Abendroth, the critic of legal struggles, but also their prerequisities for strategic use will be worked out.

In two case studies the legal battles will be investigated. First, the battles about the push-backs at the European borders will be examined. Secondly, the study deals with the transformation of the German asylum system, which was initiated by the Government during the Summer of 2015 and with support of consultation firms such as McKinsey.


Trade Unions, Labor Markets and Migration

Researcher: Neva Löw

Migration always implies a mobility of labor. Europe’s so-called “Summer of Migration“ has brought the EU migration regime and national asylum regimes to the center of political discussions. We are facing a crisis of the neoliberal migration management paradigm that was dominant up until 2015. Trade unions are required to position themselves within that debate.

The goal of this PhD thesis is to analyze the roles and positions German and French trade unions take up within the crisis of the neoliberal migration regime. I will scrutinize the strategies trade unions follow concerning the labor market, and the internal shifts this brings about in the trade union structures. I will conclude by examining moments of solidarity between trade unions and migrants.


Chains of Integration – From the “summer of migration” to “integration through work”

Researcher: Mario Neumann

More information on this research project is coming soon. Check the German description here.


„Fighting root causes of migration and forced displacement“ in the context of the crisis of the European border regime

Researcher: Judith Kopp

The project examines the crisis and transformation of the European migration policies in the wake of the “summer of migration” 2015. It focuses on the re-stabilization of the EU border and migration regime along its external dimension, i.e. through new cooperation frameworks with countries of transit and origin.

The intensified discourse and policies “to fight root causes of migration and forced displacement” are a considerable element of the new externalisation policies. On the one hand, they refer to a reinforced politicization and visibility of migrants in the light of global North-South relations. On the other hand, they are part of the attempt to re-organize and stabilize the postcolonial migration and border regime in the wake of the crisis 2015.

The analysis will focus on the social forces and developments, which have led to the emergence of new policies aiming at “fighting root causes of migration and forced displacement”. A second research line will focus on their implementation by investigating a project of the EU Trust Fund for Africa.