skip to main contentskip to main menuskip to footer Universität Bielefeld Play Search

Normative Challenges of the European Asylum System

ZiF Logo
ZiF main building from the side, blooming trees, green lawn
Universität Bielefeld/P. Ottendörfer
Switch to main content of the section
Graphic: white and blue tones, abstract representation of Europe in blue shades and with arrows
Design: S. Adamick


Svenja Ahlhaus (Hamburg, GER)

Matthias Hoesch (Münster, GER)

Susanne Mantel (Saarbrücken, GER)

Petra Sußner (Berlin, GER)

Upcoming Events

19 - 21 Feb 2024, Workshop
The Allocation of Responsibilities for Refugees

Contact at ZiF

Sue Fizell

Normative Challenges of the European Asylum System

Cooperation Group

May 2021 - February 2024

In the European Union, responsibility sharing in refugee protection is organized through supranational regulations. This fact raises several important questions: What kind of regulations are necessary to ensure fairness for each of the states? What conditions are necessary to ensure that responsibility sharing among states is also fair to refugees? How should the EU behave towards third countries and refugees living in third countries? These questions are reflected in the current controversies about the reform of the Dublin Regulation and the events at the external frontiers.

In the Cooperation Group Normative Challenges of the European Asylum System, lawyers, philosophers and political scientists investigate different patterns of responsibility sharing in refugee protection. Their main questions are: which patterns are conceivable for Europe, and how are they to be evaluated normatively? To this end, the cooperation group employs normative standards of three kinds: legal standards - in particular the basic and human rights law and EU constitutional requirements -, as well as philosophical standards of justice and political standards of democratic theory.

The Cooperation Group is especially interested in the question of how to balance the interests of refugees and the interests of states in a system of shared responsibility, as well as how to overcome the normative challenges associated with externalizing refugee protection. What kind of responsibility does a state bear for violations of rights that occur after the transfer to the target state? How is the legitimacy of the so-called "refugee markets", which distribute protection tasks using an economic mechanism, to be assessed? Furthermore, the cooperation group will also critically evaluate some common assumptions underlying the debate on responsibility sharing. For example, the group will examine the European perspective and its focus on refugees who have already reached the territorial borders of Europe.


Cooperation Group Meeting I

Allokation von Verantwortung im Flüchtlingsschutz

22 - 24 November 2021


Matthias Hoesch (Münster, GER), Anna Lübbe (Fulda, GER), Andreas Niederberger (Duisburg, GER), Dana Schmalz (Heidelberg/Jena, GER)

Gerichte im Spannungsfeld der Allokation

27 - 28 January 2022


Svenja Ahlhaus (Hamburg, GER), Matthias Hoesch (Münster, GER), Susanne Mantel (Saarbrücken, GER), Petra Sußner (Berlin, GER)

Grenzschutz und Allokationsprinzipien in der EU

16 - 18 May 2022


Andreas Blätte (Duisburg, GER), Matthias Hoesch (Münster, GER), Andreas Niederberger (Duisburg, GER), Anna Lübbe (Fulda, GER), Dana Schmalz (Heidelberg/Jena, GER)

Allokation anders denken

21 - 23 September 2022


Svenja Ahlhaus (Hamburg, GER)

Allokation umschreiben

16 - 18 January 2023


Matthias Hoesch (Münster, GER), Susanne Mantel (Saarbrücken, GER)

Kriterien guter Allokation

5 - 7 June 2023


Matthias Hoesch (Münster, GER), Petra Sußner (Berlin, GER)


6 - 8 November 2023


Matthias Hoesch (Münster, GER), Petra Sußner (Berlin, GER)

The Allocation of Responsibilities for Refugees

19 - 21 February 2024


Matthias Hoesch (Münster), Anna Lübbe (Fulda), Andreas Niederberger (Duisburg), Dana Schmalz (Heidelberg/Jena)


Svenja Ahlhaus (Hamburg, GER)
Svenja Ahlhaus is a postdoctoral research associate in political theory at University of Hamburg. Her research focuses on democratic theory, membership and migration theory, and international political theory.

Matthias Hoesch (Münster, GER)
Matthias Hoesch is head of a project on the ethics of migration at the cluster of excellence Religion and Politics, University of Münster. His research focusses on political philosophy. Especially, he is interested in the ethics of refugee protection, territorial justice, the ethics of integration and Immanuel Kant's practical philosophy.

Susanne Mantel (Saarbrücken, GER)
Susanne Mantel is a postdoc researcher in philosophy at Saarland University (Saarbrücken) and has been a postdoc fellow at the DFG-funded center for advanced studies Justitia Amplificata (Rethinking Justice – Applied and Global) (Frankfurt/Berlin). She works on political philosophy, especially duties of admission and refugees, as well as the theory of normativity.

Petra Sußner (Berlin, GER)
Petra Sußner is based at Humboldt University Berlin. She is a senior researcher at the DFG research group Law-Gender-Collectivity and her research focuses on migration law, environmental law and the role of courts in european legal orders. She obtained her PhD at the University of Vienna in 2019 with a thesis on Forced Migration, Gender and Sexuality.

Andreas Blätte

Nula Frei

Christopher Hein

Olaf Kleist

Anna Lübbe

Boldizsar Nagy

Andreas Niederberger

Dana Schmalz

Christine Straehle



  • Ahlhaus, Svenja (forthcoming): Shifting Borders, Shifting Political Representation. In: Lawless Zones, Rightless Subjects: Migration, Asylum and Shifting Borders, edited by Benhabib, Seyla; Shachar, Ayelet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [accepted /in Press]
  • Schmalz, Dana (forthcoming): The role of proximity for states’ obligations towards persons seeking protection, in: Seyla Benhabib/Ayelet Shachar (eds.), Lawless Zones, Rightless Subjects: Migration, Asylum and Shifting Borders, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (in press).
  • Hoesch, Matthias/Mantel, Susanne (forthcoming): The Allocation of Refugees to Host States: Should Refugees’ Interests and Preferences be Considered?, in: Journal of Applied Philosophy [accepted].
  • Hein, Christopher (2023): Dove e a chi chiedere asilo. I diritti dell’uomo XXXIII (3).
  • Hein, Christopher (2023): Le politiche migratorie dell’Unione europea e il negoziato sul pacchetto migratorio, in: Europa - Tra Presente de Futuro, edited by G. Amato; N. Verola, Treccani, Rom.
  • Hoesch, Matthias (2023): The European Refugee Crisis: What Is It a Crisis of?, in: Marie Göbel/Andreas Niederberger (Hg.): European Values, Cosmopolitan Norms and the Refugee Crisis, London: Routlegde 2023, 15–33.
  • Schmalz, Dana (2022): The Disparate State of Refugee Protection in the European Union, ZaöRV/Heidelberg Journal of International Law 82 (3), 529-540.
  • Sussner, Petra (2022): Rewriting als Methode: Mit Feminist Judgments zu Push-Backs an Europas Grenzen, Völkerrechtsblog, 14.10.2022, doi: 10.17176/20221014-110250-0.
  • Hein, Christopher (2021): Nobody Wants Them – Who Should Take Care of Refugees? Webseite der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.
  • Hoesch, Matthias (2021): Abschieben aus Fairness? Normative Probleme in Systemen geteilter Flüchtlingsverantwortung, ZiF-Mitteilungen 2/2019, 24–31.
  • Hoesch, Matthias (2021): Ein Markt für Geflüchtete? Bedingungen für die Zulässigkeit des Handels mit Flüchtlingskontingenten, Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie 8 (2021), 61–88.
  • Schmalz, Dana (2021): Flüchtlinge und Demokratie: Politische Rechte an den Rändern des Staats, ZiF-Mitteilungen 2/2021.
  • Schmalz, Dana (2021): Menschenrechtliche Einlassgebote: die aktuelle Rechtsprechung des EGMR zu widerrechtlichen Zurückweisungen an der Grenze, Zeitschrift für Ausländerrecht und Ausländerpolitik (ZAR) 41 (10), 360-365.
back to top