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Portrait of Emiliya Bratanova. Photo.

Emiliya Bratanova

Doctoral student

Portrait of Emiliya Bratanova. Photo.

Integration Impossible? Ethnic Nationalism and Refugee Integration in Bulgaria


  • Emiliya Bratanova van Harten


  • Moritz Jesse

Summary, in English

In the past several years many Western European countries have introduced stricter entry regimes both for third-country nationals, as well as for asylum-seekers and refugees. More recently, since the mixed migratory influx of 2015, the figure of the foreigner has become more and more visible on a national level sparking debates on the future of the European Union (EU), European and national identities. The reception of asylum-seekers and refugees has not been much different in Central and Eastern Europe, if not more problematic. Bulgaria as an external border of the EU is an interesting case in point. Stuck between politics of ethnic nationalism and multiple responsibilities under international legal regimes, it has introduced a laissez-passer integration model for refugees which is in stark contrast with integration policies in Western Europe. This paper looks at the reasons for the preference for such an approach and claims that ethnic nationalism is still alive, albeit well disguised. Engaging with theories of othering and otherness from a historico-legal perspective, it aims to illustrate that despite insurmountable differences between East and West, the increased mixed migratory flows of 2015 onwards have paradoxically contributed to more cohesion in response to migration and integration on a European level.


  • Human Rights Law
  • Department of Law
  • Migration Law

Publishing year







European Societies, Migration and the Law : The ‘Others’ amongst ‘Us’

Document type

Book chapter


Cambridge University Press


  • Law


  • Public international law
  • Folkrätt



Research group

  • Human Rights Law
  • Migration Law


  • ISBN: 9781108767637
  • ISBN: 9781108487689