Asylum in the EU and Rule of Law Backsliding

This paper examines the links between the state of asylum provision in the EU and challenges to the rule of law. Recent years have seen the EU plagued by populism, racism and xenophobia. This has been linked with challenges to the rule of law in some Member States. Asylum provision and refugee protection is another urgent challenge facing the EU. Three main problems have emerged. First, a persistent implementation gap has eroded mutual trust between Member States. Second, protection obligations have often been deflected, with the EU institutionalising containment and externalisation in its relations with non – EU States. Thirdly, fundamental rights violations in some Member States have been characterised as systemic, or reaching the level of a humanitarian emergency. To what extent can the implementation gap, fundamental rights violations, and the state of asylum provision in the EU generally be considered one of the many ‘faces’ of rule of law backsliding?