Carrots and sticks in a perfect storm: Can Schengen survive the crisis?

Research Paper by Patrick Harris



Polarising politics, terrorism and Euroscepticism have combined to create a political landscape that is toxic for asylum-seekers and refugees. The “perfect storm” in which the European Union is trying to push proposals that would see Member States take in mandatory quotas, subject to extraordinarily high sanctions upon refusal, renders the latter an extremely unrealistic proposal. It also appears to indicate that the Commission need to consider proposals which are more nuanced, balanced, and offer Member States more of the “carrot” and less of the “stick”. A mechanism is suggested in response that allows Member States to contribute financially through both existing and extra-budgetary contributions, but receive “rebates” to incentivise responsibility. In conjunction with a number of other proposals, this could offer a more sustainable solution for Schengen. The paper offers thoughts on the accompanying and perhaps even more vital need to change perceptions and discourses and to find a peaceful resolution to the fighting in Syria.