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Tamar de Waal, assistant professor (university lecturer) of Legal Philosophy, has won the dissertation prize awarded by the Association for Philosophy of Law (Vereniging voor de Wijsbegeerte van het Recht, VWR). The prize is awarded biennially for the best legal philosophy dissertation. Tamar de Waal examined the integration policies applied to newcomers in EU Member States.

Tamar was awarded the prize for her thesis Conditional Belonging: A Legal-Philosophical Inquiry into Integration Requirements for Immigrants in Europe. The jury, comprised of Jaap Hage, Carel Smith and Arend Soeteman, made its choice out of five dissertations nominated for the prize. The jury found Tamar's dissertation to be “very good and a stimulating read”.


In her winning dissertation, Tamar de Waal concludes that various EU member states have increasingly tried to link integration policy for newcomers to their admissions policies: successful integration thus becomes a prerequisite for family reunification, permanent residence, and naturalization. Integration has primarily become the responsibility of the newcomers themselves. However, when newcomers fail to “integrate” sufficiently, it nonetheless remains impossible to expel them.


The link creates all kinds of problems, according to Tamar. Long-term residents with limited rights, unfavourable integration outcomes and stigmatization ofcitizens with a migrant background.Liberal nationalists and social scientists proceed from the assumption that states have a legitimate interest in demanding that newcomers integrate before granting them full rights, yet have little regard for EU law and the fact that the negative effects infringe the liberal-democratic values of the rule of law.


Tamar de Waal argues for a firewall between the rights of new residents (with regard to residence and naturalization) on the one hand, and measures that promote integration, which could well include compulsory courses, on the other. This should help stop the exploitation of the vulnerable legal position of newcomers, curb the persistent notion that newcomers who are entitled to residence and citizenship need to earn it and prevent integration policies from being misused for the purpose of restricting immigration and having counterproductive societal outcomes.