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integration 01/24


The reform of the European migration and asylum system, new concepts for the EU's political system, the upcoming European elections and the recent parliamentary elections in Poland - read analyses and discussions in issue 1/24 of the "integration".

The EU has struggled for years to reform its asylum and migration system. Shortly before the end of the legislative period, the European Parliament and the Council have now both voted in favour of the compromise reached in December 2023. The effects of the latest reforms in border and asylum policy on the EU's governance structure are analysed in the Free Content article (German language). Other essays look at new concepts that can be used to better understand the EU's political system in the context of the so-called "polycrisis". The forum category deals with the upcoming European elections, the recent parliamentary elections in Poland and the future viability of the EU from a German-Nordic-Baltic perspective. The Spinelli Forum, a German-Italian dialogue for young leaders, will be held in Berlin in November 2023. The conference report of the European Integration Working Group deals with the legal foundations and instruments of the EU's strategic autonomy.

The Governance structure of EU border and asylum policy: Increasing but not sufficient sovereignty transfers to the EU level

Domenica Dreyer-Plum/ Natascha Zaun

This article analyses the impact of recent reforms in the Common European Asylum System on the governance structure of asylum and border policies of the European Union (EU). Drawing on the Core State Power framework and New Intergovernmentalism, we argue that recent regulations have significantly strengthened Frontex and the European Union Agency for Asylum (previously known as European Asylum Support Office) and therefore contribute to independent capacity building at the EU level. Interestingly, much of this capacity existed before it was codified by EU law, showing a remarkable trend of ex post judicialization. The Migration Forum suggested in the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation, however, is largely intergovernmental and thus rather confirms expectations of New Intergovernmentalist theories. Moreover, the proposals to enhance solidarity remain cautious and suggest no significant sovereignty transfers.

The article is freely available for download (German language).

A regulatory security state? Authority foundations and policy instruments in European security

Andreas Kruck/Moritz Weiss

European security policy is still widely regarded as the realm of national and “positive" states”. In contrast to this conventional view, this article argues that the European Union – and the broader European multi-level system – can be conceived as a “regulatory” state in many areas of European security policymaking. The European regulatory security state (ERSS) relies on epistemic authority (i. e. experts) to indirectly produce European security policies by means of setting and enforcing rules. The article introduces the concept of a “European regulatory security state” and illustrates how the ERSS manifests itself empirically. It discusses the extent to which Russia’s war against Ukraine and the European responses to it pose a challenge to the ERSS; and it assesses how normatively desirable – and sustainable – the ERSS is.

The European Reinsurance State

Christian Freudlsperger

What kind of European Union (EU) emerges from the “polycrisis”? This article argues that the EU is developing into a “reinsurance polity”. In this system of public reinsurance, the nation states remain the direct insurers of their citizens against individual and societal risks. As their insurance capacity is increasingly overstretched by transboundary crises, however, the EU is creating standing resources to provide support in emergencies. In contrast to federal co-insurance, reinsurance is primarily aimed at states and affects citizens only indirectly. This article defines the term public reinsurance, describes its origins and workings, and provides three examples from the “polycrisis” (rescEU, Frontex, HERA). Reinsurance is a new path of EU institutional development that overcomes the regulatory polity without pushing it in the direction of positive federal statehood.

The 2024 European elections – systemic peculiarities, expectations, and the challenge of extremists

Klaus Welle

The division of powers in the federally structured European Union, the lack of fixed political coalitions, the absence of effective control of voting behaviour in the European Parliament by parliamentary group leaderships and the structure of European political parties as alliances of national parties make European elections systemically specific. In the 2024 European elections, the lead candidate system for the President of the European Commission is back. This may contribute to increased voter participation and be successful if the informal preconditions for the candidates are met during nomination. During the phase leading up to the election of the President of the Commission, the Parliament achieves maximum leverage. Political forces that endanger the existing conditions of the system itself, should be categorized as extreme and be opposed by the political mainstream.

Viability for the future through resilience – a German-Nordic-Baltic perspective

Leonie Kristina Trebeljahr

The changed geostrategic situation of the European Union (EU) since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is particularly evident in the Baltic Sea region due to its geographical proximity and shared history with Russia. After years of enlargement fatigue, member states now see EU enlargement as a geopolitical imperative and are discussing the need for prior institutional reform. In addition, the EU and its member states must confront growing hybrid threats in the form of disinformation and economic dependency. In order to ensure the EU's ability to act in the current geopolitical environment, a European “Zeitenwende” must strengthen the rule of law, democracy and economic security.

Poland is back – opportunities for Polish-German engagement in Europe after the 2023 parliamentary elections

Maria Skóra

On October 15, 2023, the Law and Justice Party (PiS) lost majority in parliamentary elections. Two months later, a new government of the Civic Coalition, Third Way, and the New Left, under the leadership of Donald Tusk was sworn in, with an ambitious agenda not only regarding domestic issues, but also elevating Poland’s position in Europe and the world. This development opens pathways for Polish-German re-engagement. Opportunities emerge in particular in the realm of bilateral relations as well as intergovernmental formats. Yet, challenges persist in attitudes toward specific European policies, like migration, climate and institutional reforms.

The 2023 Polish parliamentary elections ­– observations on domestic politics and implications for foreign policy

Marek Prawda

This text is an attempt to read the election results in Poland on 15 October 2023 as a symptom of deeper changes in society. The author defends the thesis that democratic and liberal attitudes, suppressed but still present in society, have been unblocked. The expectations of extremely mobilized voters will be a challenge for the new government. Then, the elections were analysed against the background of trends in European politics. In Poland, it turned out that you can also win unfair elections. It is also possible to oppose the general wave of populism. Finally, the author presents the possible effects of the political change in Poland on the situation in the European Union and on Polish-German relations. Polish politics are faced with the task of demonstrating “European indispensability” in the Union, which is turning from a factory of rules into a community of fate.

Team & authors

About the integration project: The quarterly journal "integration" is a theory-driven and policy-related interdisciplinary forum for fundamental questions of European integration. Contemporary issues in European politics are discussed from a political and academic perspective.

ISSN/ISBN: 0720-5120, 2941-8895
Image copyright: iep