Solidarity or Hostility? The impact of intergovernmental bargaining between Germany and Hungary on the Common European Asylum System in 2015
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Ever since the founding of the European Union, the question of where the decision-making power lies remains central to scholarly debate. Whereas supranationalists believe that the EU institutions are dominant, (liberal) intergovernmentalists argue for the national interests of member-states. To research the power division in a period of heightened international tensions, this paper has studied the impact of interstate bargaining between Germany and Hungary on the performance of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) to solve the refugee problem of 2015. A political discourse analysis of both domestic and EU speeches by governmental leaders Merkel and Orbán served as a method of investigating interstate bargaining. The study showed that Merkel bargained in favour of EU cooperation on accepting asylum applications, whereas Orbán pushed his anti-immigration agenda through opposing Merkel’s plans as a similar method of hard bargaining. This intergovernmental conflict impeded the performance of the CEAS as a supranational policy to solve the refugee problem significantly. Although these results merely investigated the case of the CEAS in 2015, the inadequate performance of this policy might be exemplary of a persistent lack of solidarity between EU member-states in similar periods of heightened international tensions.