21 March 2019

The Right to Asylum in the European Union: Legal and Political Challenges

Location Hertie School of Governance
Beginning 18  Ending 19:30

Four million asylum applications were filed in the European Union between 2013 and 2017. While the incoming flow of refugees has decreased since then, political tensions between EU Member States have continued to increase and intensify, pushing the Union to the verge of disunity.

In the context of upcoming European elections, a joint report by Institut Montaigne and Terra Nova calls for overhauling European asylum policy and for a rapid, unified response to the humanitarian emergency in the Mediterranean: “Saving the Right to Asylum”. The introductory talk will be given by Marc-Olivier Padis (Head of Studies Department, Terra Nova) and Jean-Paul Tran Thiet (Senior Fellow and Former Board Member, Institut Montaigne) based on this report outlining possible reforms of the Common European Asylum System. This will be followed by commentaries from two discussants, Fanny Thornton (University of Canberra) and Josefin Graef (Hertie School), on the wider political and legal challenges facing the right to asylum in Europe and beyond in the 21st century.


Helmut K. Anheier, Academic Co-Director, Dahrendorf Forum and Professor of Sociology and Past President, Hertie School of Governance

Francis Vérillaud, Special Advisor, Institut Montaigne, Paris


Opening statements

Marc-Olivier Padis, Head of Studies Department, Terra Nova

Jean-Paul Tran Thiet, a French lawyer, Senior Fellow, Former Board Member, Institut Montaigne, Paris and Co-Author of “Saving the Right to Asylum”


Discussants’ response 

Josefin Graef, Dahrendorf Post-Doctoral Fellow, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin

Fanny Thornton, Assistant Professor in Law, School of Law and Justice, University of Canberra

Janna Wessels, is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Chair of Public Law and European Law of the University of Giessen. She works on refugee law and policy, migration studies, and human rights. Her current research includes the project “Human Rights challenges to European Migration Policy (REMAP)”



Michaela Kreyenfeld, Professor of Sociology, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin


We look forward to welcoming you to this event.


If you wish to attend, please register here.


The “Dahrendorf Forum – Debating Europe” is a joint initiative by the Hertie School of Governance and the London School of Economics and Political Science, funded by Stiftung Mercator. Under the title “The future of Europe: strategic options for an era of uncertainties” the project cycle 2017-2019 fosters research and open debate on the changing European political landscape.


Founded in 2000 and based in Paris, Institut Montaigne is an independent think tank dedicated to public policy in France and Europe. Its work results from a rigorous, critical and open method of analysis based on international comparisons. This pioneering non-profit think tank brings together business leaders, senior civil servants, academics, civil society and personalities from a wide range of backgrounds. It is run exclusively through private contributions, each representing less than 1.5% of its annual budget, which amounts to € 5.7 million (2018 estimation). Through its various actions – proposals, evaluations of public policies, citizen participations and experimentations – Institut Montaigne aims to play a key role in the democratic debate.