Research team

Expertise

Research on the legal aspects of asylum and migration from the perspective of legal protection, human rights and EU asylum and immigration law.

Respect for national identity and essential State functions in EU migration and free movement law. 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2027

Abstract

Under traditional State sovereignty, States determine which non-nationals may reside on their territory. In Nation-States, where State and ethnocultural nation are thought to coincide, admission criteria (e.g. work or family life) reflect the Nation's values. In the EU, this exercise of sovereignty is strongly limited: free movement of EU citizens within and immigration by third country nationals into the EU are predominantly regulated by EU law. The primacy of EU law inhibits Member States from acting contrary to EU law. This creates tension between visions of traditional sovereignty and supranational authority, all the more since Article 4(2) TEU imposes a duty on the EU to respect the "national identities" and "essential State functions" of the Member States. States can and have invoked these clauses to derogate from their obligations under EU law if these conflict with interests which are deeply entrenched in their national identity or with their essential State functions (e.g. to oppose EU decisions on the relocation of asylum applicants). Yet, judicial and academic analysis of their role in the field of free movement, migration and asylum, remains scarce. This project aims to conceptualize the national identity and the essential State function clauses within the context of migratory policy. Can they serve to restore national sovereignty of Member States in matters of migration, bearing in mind the fundamental values, rights and freedoms that lie at the core of the EU?

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  • Research Project

The Legal Value of the Principle of Solidarity in EU Asylum and Migration. 01/11/2023 - 31/10/2025

Abstract

Solidarity constitutes a highly-debated, yet under-conceptualized notion that has only been rendered substance in operational terms. Many solutions at EU level have been opted for to reduce the lack of solidarity in asylum matters among Member States, however, these have shown to be insufficient to tackle the absence of fair sharing of responsibility of asylum applications within the EU. Moreover, scholars to date mostly zoomed in on the correlation between solidarity and asylum, but have kept distance from its substance, legal value and obligations in broader migratory contexts, and especially at the EU's external borders. This project will, firstly, provide the elaboration and conceptualization of the principle of solidarity from a broad migratory angle, taking into account general principles of EU law, including the principle of subsidiarity and proportionality. Secondly, emphasis will be put on the new Pact on Asylum and Migration and how this coincides with the meaning linked to solidarity given by this project. Lastly, this research will analyze if and in what circumstances a lack of solidarity among Member States in migratory contexts and at the EU's external borders can result in the triggering of infringement procedures following Articles 258 to 260 TFEU and as a last resort Article 7 TEU.

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  • Research Project

Evaluation study of the decree of 7 May 2004 on the material organisation and operation of recognised religions. 23/05/2023 - 15/03/2024

Abstract

The study is an evaluation study of the Flemish decree of 7 May 2004 on the material organisation and functioning of recognised religions. The project includes several research topics: the design, functioning and the embedding of councils of religion (eredienstbesturen); the financing model; and the administrative supervision of these council of religion; and possible alternative legal forms, other than the current public status of councils of religion. The study will include a legal analysis of the hurdles already identified, complemented by an internal and external legal comparison. Furthermore, key stakeholders will be heard and consulted.

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  • Research Project

The Legal Position of Foreign Nationals in the Event of a Criminal Conviction in Belgium. 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2024

Abstract

Criminal and migration law and policy are increasingly intertwined, resulting in tension between the two jurisdictions. Even though various legislative amendments have been implemented, no comprehensive investigation has ever been conducted into the criminal and administrative position of the foreign national in the event of a criminal conviction in Belgium. This PhD will investigate which punishments, modalities of punishment and modalities of execution criminal judges (can) impose on foreigners residing legally or illegally in Belgium. In addition, this research will examine the influence of a criminal conviction on the possibility of refusal or withdrawal of residence resulting in expulsion, and on the acquisition and withdrawal of Belgian citizenship. Furthermore, this PhD will identify and analyse the relevance of overarching legal rules and general principles governing this legal position, and evaluate Belgian legislation and practice in this regard. Besides, this research aims to clarify to what extent the fact that expulsion and citizenship withdrawal decisions are taken by the administration as opposed to a criminal court influences the degree of legal protection of the foreign national and the conformity of these decisions with overarching rules and principles. This research will be based upon legislation, case law and empirical data. An integrated legal comparison will be made with France and Switzerland.

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  • Research Project

Informal Judicial Institutions: Invisible Determinants of Democratic Decay (INFINITY). 01/10/2021 - 31/08/2023

Abstract

No matter how perfect the formal design of an independent judicial system with clear, respected, formal rules is, the role of courts and judicial systems may be influenced by informal practices, which could contribute to or counter a democratic decay. The INFINITY project, hosted by Masarykova univerzita (Brno), conduct san in-depth comparative legal study combining sociological and political sciences, while focusing on the analysis of differences in informal judicial systems and their role in 'new' and 'old' EU Member States.

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  • Research Project

Current European and Cross-National Comparative Research and Research Actions on Migration (CROSS-MIGRATION). 01/03/2018 - 29/02/2020

Abstract

Migration and the characteristics which constitute its parameters, dynamics and complexities comprise one of the most paramount matters in contemporary Europe. Under these designated circumstances, the necessity of relevant, concise, and useful knowledge are prerequisites for the design of efficient and constructive policies. Although particular databases such as EUROSTAT and OECD offer valuable insights into these migratory dynamics, a comprehensive, efficient and integrative database which synthesizes, categorizes and maps out the vast analytical accounts on migration throughout Europe is non-existent. This project, bringing together 16 leading research institutions, networks and policy institutes throughout Europe, aims to proficiently fulfil this gap crucial for policy purposes through the construction of a central migration hub. This hub will be of instrumental value due to its capability to operate as a key grammar in the design of current and future policy. Essentially, it accumulates and consolidates past, present and future migration research through providing an extensive yet succinct overview of migration drivers, infrastructures, flows, and policies, allowing for an improved systematic understanding of the factors that constitute the interaction between these analytical categories.

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    • Research Project

    Preventing and Combatting Racism and Xenophobia through Social Orientation of Non-Nationals (RACCOMBAT). 01/09/2017 - 30/06/2019

    Abstract

    RACCOMBAT examines the necessity to seek tools and mechanisms to prevent and combat racism and xenophobia against non-nationals throughout their whole integration in society. An important part of that process is social orientation of new immigrants which is supposed to ensure that participants integrate in host societies to their own and society's benefit. Civi integration and social orientation trajectories should take place in full observance of fundamental rights and legal obligations of all parties. Thus, participants should be given knowledge about those rights and obligations and about acts of hatred and/or discrimination they may encounter, learn to recognise such acts and be aware of all legal tools offered by the host state to prevent and combat them.

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    Project website

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    • Research Project

    Assessing Integration Measures for Vulnerable Migrants Groups (ASSESS). 16/12/2013 - 31/05/2015

    Abstract

    This project aims to monitor and assess the effectiveness of integration measures for two vulnerable migrant groups – women, children and victims of trafficking The assessment aims at the identification of strengths and weaknesses in the application of the Common Basic Principles on Migrant Integration when it comes to the integration of vulnerable migrant groups. In addition, it will serve to identify and initiate the exchange of promising practice in the field between EU countries of different migration patterns, regimes and experience.

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    • Research Project

    Credit for the Libraries in Social and Human Sciences (Faculty of Law). 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2018

    Abstract

    This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university. The project aims to set up a model for well-balanced development of the law library as a laboratory for research and education in all domains of the law.

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    • Research Project

    Policy Research Centre on Integration (2012-2015). 01/01/2012 - 30/06/2016

    Abstract

    This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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    • Research Project

    Study on the reception of and social benefits for illegal migrants and rejected asylum seekers in Belgium, Denmark, France, and the Netherlands. 01/02/2011 - 15/05/2011

    Abstract

    This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand ACVZ. UA provides ACVZ research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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    • Research Project

    Implementation of article 80 TFUE on the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, including its financial implications, between the member states in the field of border checks, asylum and immigration. 01/01/2011 - 15/03/2011

    Abstract

    The idea is to evaluate the implications and perspective of the new art. 80 of the Treaty, which appears to strengthen the previous art. 63(2)(b) provision which was limited to refugees and displaces persons. The note has to give ideas on a possible implementation of art. 80 TFEU to make the principle of solidarity effective.

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    • Research Project

    Temporary and circular migration in Belgium. 05/05/2010 - 04/05/2011

    Abstract

    This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Federal Public Service. UA provides the Federal Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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    • Research Project

    Imagining Europe from the outside. On the role of democracy and human rights perceptions in constructing migration aspirations and decision towards Europe (EUMAGINE). 01/02/2010 - 31/01/2013

    Abstract

    By means of a non-Eurocentric, theoretically and empirically sound cross-country and cross-region research design, EUMAGINE studies the impact of perceptions of human rights and democracy on international migration aspirations and decisions. Special attention goes to human rights (including women's rights) and democracy perceptions on Europe, specific European countries, and the relative popularity of Europe in comparison and competition with the US, Russia, Canada and Australia. The core idea of the project is that macro and meso level discourses on human rights and democracy influence micro level perceptions on these themes in countries of origin and transit, which in turn influence migratory aspirations and decisions.

    Researcher(s)

    • Promoter: Timmerman Christiane
    • Co-promoter: Nonneman Walter
    • Co-promoter: Vanheule Dirk

    Research team(s)

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      • Research Project

      Judicial transitional law in public and private procedural law: new evolutions concerning the modulation of the effects of judicial decisions in time. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2013

      Abstract

      New tendencies indicate that judicial transitional law is at the verge of a new evolution, calling for further research this project will focus in particular on two research questions which will lead to concrete directives for both policy makers and legal practice Research Question 1: What are the theoretical foundations and policy arguments for the principal temporal function of' judgments? Research Question 2. What arguments justify in the practice of courts a modulation of the temporal effects of judgments?

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      • Research Project

      Study on the gender dimension in the Belgian migration policy. 01/06/2009 - 30/11/2009

      Abstract

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        • Research Project

        The European decision making process and democratic participation in matters of asylum and migration. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2008

        Abstract

        The European Community has jurisdiction over matters of asylum and immigration since the Treaty of Amsterdam. The decision making process is mainly the consultation procedure, with limited legislative power for the European Parliament. The research topics are the respective importance of each of the European institutions in the legislative process, the degree of democratic participation and the possible consequences for legal protection.

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        • Research Project

        Transposition of and legal protection under the European migration law. 01/01/2004 - 31/12/2008

        Abstract

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        • Research Project

        Analysis of the case law of the Belgian Conseil d'Etat on the application of the 1980 aliens act. 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2005

        Abstract

        The project aims at an in-depth analysis of the case law of the Belgian Conseil 'Etat on the application of the Aliens Act on the immigration of non-Belgian citizens to Belgium. The Conseil d'Etat, being ths supreme administrative tribunal, reviews the decisions made by the immigration authorities on the basis of the Aliens Act. Although these appeals currently compose the majority of the Conseil's workload, exhaustive legal research on more than 20 years of case law is lacking. The research will examine these cases from different legal angles; migration law, administrative law, administrative procedural law, constitutional law, international public law, European law and human rights law.

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        • Research Project