Pushing Borders Outward: The State of Asylum Globally Five Years After the EU-Turkey Deal
Ottilie Bälz, Senior Vice President, Global Issues, Robert Bosch Stiftung
Andrew Selee, President, MPI
Hanne Beirens, Director, MPI Europe
Tsion Tadesse Abebe, Senior Researcher, Migration Program, Institute for Security Studies
Mustafa Alio, Managing Director, Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table (R-SEAT)
Susan Fratzke, Senior Policy Analyst, MPI
In the five years since the European Union turned to Turkey to keep asylum seekers and other migrants from reaching European soil in exchange for a variety of economic and other considerations, governments around the world have increasingly externalized their migration controls and asylum proceedings. They have done so by pushing their borders outward through arrangements with transit and origin countries, as well as by implementing barriers that make it harder to access protection. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges by providing a public-health rationale for border closures and entry limitations. The five-year anniversary of the EU-Turkey deal provides an opportunity to examine how the accessibility of asylum and protection globally has changed.
In this discussion experts considered the extent to which externalization strategies, such as the EU-Turkey agreement or deals with Libya and now-rescinded U.S. agreements to send asylum seekers to Central America, have become the dominant strategies deployed by countries of asylum. How have the impacts of these policies been felt, both by asylum seekers and host and transit countries? And what can be done to ensure refugees continue to have access to protection and asylum procedures?
This event marks the launch of an initiative led by MPI and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, “Beyond Territorial Asylum: Making Protection Work in a Bordered World.” The initiative aims to redesign the global protection and resettlement infrastructure in a way that is more equitable, flexible, and sustainable.