Delegating Responsibility

International Cooperation on Migration in the European Union
Nicholas R. Micinski
A new theory of international cooperation on migration


Delegating Responsibility explores the politics of migration in the European Union and explains how the EU responded to the 2015–17 refugee crisis. Based on 86 interviews and fieldwork in Greece and Italy, Nicholas R. Micinski proposes a new theory of international cooperation on international migration. States approach migration policies in many ways—such as coordination, collaboration, subcontracting, and unilateralism—but which policy they choose is based on capacity and on credible partners on the ground. Micinski traces the fifty-year evolution of EU migration management, like border security and asylum policies, and shows how EU officials used “crises” as political leverage to further Europeanize migration governance. In two in-depth case studies, he explains how Italy and Greece responded to the most recent refugee crisis. He concludes with a discussion of policy recommendations regarding contemporary as well as long-term aspirations for migration management in the EU.

Nicholas R. Micinski is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine.

Praise / Awards

  • Delegating Responsibility offers an excellent account of the dynamics of migration management in Europe, showing how front-line states like Italy and Greece struggle to cope with increasing numbers of forced migrants while engaging in a delicate dance of conflict and cooperation with the EU and member states. With all of its flaws, the EU will set the pace for migration governance in Europe and beyond and Micinski provides us with key insights into this extraordinarily complex political process.”
    —James Hollifield, Southern Methodist University
  • “A deeply researched and hugely informative book about the dynamics of migration management in Greece and Italy that provides fresh insight into the complex dynamics of state responses and international cooperation.”
    —Andrew Geddes, Director of the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute
  • “This is a strong, empirically detailed, and theoretically ambitious study. Micinski makes an important contribution to the literature on international politics of migration.”
    —Gerasimos Tsourapas, University of Glasgow
  • Delegating Responsibility shows the surprising ways that Greece, Italy, and the EU try to manage asylum seekers and other migrants. By focusing on how policies are put into action, Micinski reveals when and why states work alone, together, or hand over their obligations to international organizations.”
    —David Scott FitzGerald, author of Refuge beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers
  • “Demonstrates quite convincingly that past policy choices and institutions established to deal with migration pressures continue to shape policy today, enabling or constraining the scope for action.”
    —Willem Maas, York University
  • "Delegating Responsibility makes an important contribution to understanding the consequences of state's cooperation and collaboration and in terms of diluting responsibility and accountability, stressing the complexity of these relationships and their political and social significance."
    Ethnic and Racial Studies 

News, Reviews, Interviews

Listen: Interview on New Books Network | 10/31/2022
Read: Author article in Washington Post's Monkey Cage | 03/16/2022

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 246pp.
  • 14 tables, 2 images, 8 charts.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2022
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-13282-9

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  • $70.00 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2022
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03899-2

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  • $29.95 U.S.

  • Open Access
  • 2022
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-90279-8

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