The EU Refugee Crisis, culminating in the autumn of 2015, clarified the need for a common immigration policy in the EU. This article examines two of the EU member states’ immigration policy, Denmark and Sweden, on the basis of how these relate to the EU’s existing immigration policy. A comparison between Denmark and Sweden’s immigration policy indicates that it does not significantly matter whether the Member States are part of the European Union’s Common European Asylum System (CEAS) or not. The refugee crisis has clarified the difficulties of reaching agreement between the Member States and showed shortcomings of the CEAS, which is apparent when there is no unanimity on solutions that entail increased responsibility for the individual Member State.
Within the European Union (EU), there is a common asylum system agreed upon by the Member States, the European Union’s Common European Asylum System (CEAS). (European Commission, 2019). This ought to mean that there is no significant difference between the Member States’ policies regarding asylum seekers. But is this true? Is CEAS applied in the same way regardless of which Member State you are looking at? Does the same assessment apply throughout the EU? The obvious answer to these questions should of course be a clear no, at least for those who have in any way followed the chain of events after the EU Refugee Crisis which culminated in the autumn of 2015. For instance, that a country such as Hungary does not meet CEAS should not come as a surprise. Hungary has gone its own way on this issue and has basically made it impossible to seek asylum in their country. (EDAL, 2019). But what about other Member States? Are the other Member States better at complying with the CEAS requirements and fulfilling the standard of EU’s policy on asylum?
In this article, we will look more closely at two of the Member States, namely Denmark and Sweden. We will be examining how the EU Member States, Denmark and Sweden, live up to EU’s policy on asylum. This is done with a comparative study of foreign policy on immigration, by using the theory of foreign policy analysis (FPA). Denmark and Sweden have been selected for this study, partly because they are neighbouring countries and are strongly influenced by each other’s policies, but also because one of these countries, Denmark, is not part of CEAS, and that the other, Sweden, is part of CEAS.