Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Thomas G. Weiss

Committee Members

John Torpey

Zachary Shirkey

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | International Relations


refugee, migrant, asylum, EU, European Union, Europe, Greece, Italy, United Nations, UNHCR, IOM, Frontex, EASO


This dissertation examines cooperation between the EU, UN, and other international organizations on migration management in Europe. While the UN often operates refugee camps in the Global South, it is less common for rich, developed countries to ask the UN to support refugees and migrants within their territories. My project examines why the UN is operating these camps in some of the richest countries in the world and diagnoses gaps in the coordination mechanisms that lead to refugees anguishing for years in camps in Greece or Italy. In 2016, I conducted interviews with 86 policymakers and practitioners from the Greek and Italian governments, the EU, and UN. I propose a theoretical framework that the necessary conditions for delegation to IOs are low state capacity and no credible partners; while the conditions for coordination are high capacity and credible partners and for collaboration are low capacity and credible partners. Chapter 2 examines how these necessary conditions influenced coordination and collaboration in the EU in three cases: the Common European Asylum System, Frontex, and the EU Blue Card. Chapter 3 tests the theoretical framework for delegation in Greece and coordination in Italy during the 2015-17 refugee crisis. Chapter 4 turns to how civil society improvised everyday coordination mechanisms to distribute aid to refugees in the first six months of the crisis. I conclude with a discussion of policy recommendations regarding the current situation and long-term aspirations for migration management in the EU. This project makes important contributions to scholarship on international cooperation by differentiating between coordination, collaboration, and delegation and the logics of why states delegate to IOs and applies these concepts to EU migration management.