Migration and Asylum Governance in CEE Countries: Between Historical Legacies and the Europeanisation Process

  • Goranka Lalić Novak Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb
  • Teo Giljević Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb
Keywords: migration, asylum, Central and Eastern Europe countries, transition, Europeanisation, path dependency


Migration patterns in post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe countries were different when compared to old EU member states. During the period after WWII until 1990, those patterns involved primarily migration to and from other CEE countries (and the Soviet Union). In former Yugoslavia, a less oppressive regime, together with a high demand for workers in Western European countries, opened up space for rather massive labour emigration during 1960s and 1970s. After the collapse of previous regimes and during the transition period in the 1990s, CEE countries experienced an increase in immigration; however, relatively small numbers of immigrants have been arriving from outside Europe. At the same time, under the EU accession requirements, those countries had to quickly develop migration policies and align their legislation with acquis communautaire on migration and border security. The mass migrations in 2015 and 2016 opened a new chapter regarding migration and asylum governance in CEE countries. Some of them, such as Visegrad countries, strongly opposed the EU initiatives in the area of migration and asylum, which influenced their relations with EU institutions but also other member states. The paper aims to explore the relationship between the transition and Europeanisation on one side, and the development of migration and asylum governance on the other side in CEE countries, based on the path-dependency approach. The paper focuses on the question to what extent (post)socialist factors influence national migration and asylum governance and policies which are at the same time governed by the EU regulatory framework. It is debated whether the effectiveness of the transfer of values and norms relating to migration during the accession process has been
replaced by a “national turn” after joining the EU.