Coping with the asylum challenge: tightening and streamlining policies in Western Europe

Author(s) : Laurent Bernhard, David Kaufmann

Source :


« To cope with the challenges posed by growing numbers of asylum seekers, Western European countries have relied on tightening policies over the last decades. We propose to complement this traditional and one-dimensional view by highlighting the importance of encompassing streamlining policies that aim to enhance the efficiency of national asylum systems through procedural accelerations and structural reforms. We argue that political conflicts over tightening and streamlining policies follow different logics. While it is hypothesised that the level of support for the former increases the more to the right a given actor position itself, approval for the latter is expected to decline with the degree of ideological extremity on the left–right axis. The empirical case relies on structured elite interviews conducted with the major political organisations involved in a referendum on the urgent modifications of the Swiss asylum law in 2013. Our quantitative findings tend to support our hypotheses. »

Keywords: AsylumWestern EuropeSwitzerlandreferendum



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