How is the current Refugee Flow affecting the Migration Policies in the European Union

Essay, 2016

11 Pages, Grade: 5.50


Table of Contents:



Literature review

Research question




The question posed in this paper is the following - how the current refugee flow affects the migration policies in the European Union. However, what is important to be mentioned here is the fact that within the EU there is considerable freedom of travel, in most cases--without border checks. Moreover, for the security of the external borders the individual countries receive support from the European Agency Frontex, as well as from a number of electronic databases relating to visa facilitation, input/output control and applicants for asylum.

In special cases, however, individual European countries have the right and are obliged to take special measures for the protection of external borders – for example through the construction of fences or other facilities. These have already been raised, for example in Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, and in recent days Hungary and began to build a "wall", as well.

Member States have the right to close its borders to other European States only in extreme situations and temporary. The decision for such a measure, however, is taken at European level. At present the Union needs to clarify the migration policies that it is going to follow in regard to the current migration flows.

Key words migration, policies, flows, EU.


The Dublin rules state that the country in which a refugee set foot for the first time on the territory of the community is the one that bears responsibility for him. In practice, however, these rules are not respected anymore. As the European Commission and the German kansler Merkel stated "the agreements from Dublin are no longer functioning."

Having in mind these rules, the responsibility for the overwhelming amount of refugees would have to be carried by four countries: Greece, Italy, Bulgaria and Hungary .

However, what might be the purpose of migration? What factors can stimulate the development of migration policy? What are the consequences of the success or a respective failure of a migration policy?

The first question is relative, since the conduct of migration policy is predominantly right of every sovereign state since the beginning of the XIX century. Therefore every political sphere that can be categorized as EU migration policy should strongly influence the ability for taking decisions by the governments of the EU member states. If that is the case , what is the migration policy of a regional institution like the European Union?

An important factor in regulating the stability of the population of a country is the control of transnational migration. Over the past two hundred years the most prominent tool for regulating migration is the control of it. So governments build migration policies, administrative and policy instruments restricting unregulated border crossing. What will happen when a person starts to deal with the implementation of regional integration, the result is one - namely the transformation of international borders in a trivial obstacle. So once again, what are the objectives set by the migration policy of a regional institution like the European Union?

The third issue is the other side of the second. Obviously, the institutions of legal integration they want to withdraw the decision-making powers of the member governments. However, since the scope of migration policy is limited to matters on which it has focused over the last two hundred years and more, namely, the prevention of unregulated immigration, regional institutions can only generate their own competence in political issues if, at the same time have the administrative and political means to objectively monitor transnational immigration. In the case of the EU, however, no institution other than the governments of sovereign member states do have the technical means and the legal basis to make such control. The dilemma is the following: the current focus of migration policy on the prevention of unregulated immigration, as there is no regional institution to establish its own immigration policy if it do not intend to carry it out. In this context it would be appropriate to ask the question ' What are the consequences of the success or the respective failure of a migration policy?'.

Since long we talk about the ' walls' in Europe By the end of the XVIII and beginning of XIX century around many cities in Europe have erected firewalls. These walls were the expression of isolation and restriction of unregulated access. Despite the apparent failure of the 'walls' in France and Germany, the Europeans have not given up on them. They do not serve military purposes and are not built of stone and concrete. But the debate over whether and how Europe can and must erect a wall against immigrants continues. The metaphor 'Fortress Europe' is to give the impression that Europeans aim to cut off parts of the continent from the rest of the world. Limitations imposed by the Schengen agreements are political response to increased immigration flows to Europe. And if someone made measurements and compare the volume of migration flows in Europe and everywhere in the world, it will prove that the threat to Europe is negligible .

However, the ongoing integration processes on the one hand, have a strong impact on immigration because they further facilitate the movement and crossing that have become a 'banal obstacle' limits, which limits the ability of governments to effective migration control.On the other hand, regional integration induces changes in public policy, defining who is an immigrant and who belongs to the local population, that further complicates the situation.

The third problem is that regional integration downplays the most important principle on which rests the migration policy of sovereign countries, namely that migration is determinable within strict limits and controlled by nalionalite guarding of borders. The three problem broadens the political terrain on which migration in unity with regional integration would occur. To put it more clearly, regional integration gives political nature of migration in terms of raising the discussion on rules and benefits.

The failure of immigration control is not an unprecedented case. In fact, the history of migration control is the story of its failure. This refers to attempts to limit both the ' immigrant tide' and the 'emigrant tide'. The reason is easy to find, but the problem is difficult to solve - migrants continues to be viewed as a nameless menacing crowd from which citizens as residents of the country should be protected. The most simple and easy measure at hand is 'closing the door'

Literature review

In the XIX century, Karl von Klauzvits at the sight of the Great Wall of China stated that an ' amazing facility protection' , once built, could not be moved if the enemies change their position .

According to some researchers on the subject the European countries thought migration is an undesirable, something that should be controlled by progressively restrictive measures (Migration Policies of the European Union – Teresa Palomar). In support of the ongoing migration policy the member countries categorically declared that they are not immigrational. But that view changed as a result of socio-economic conditions and arguments that Europe can not afford to miss the sight of migration in the context of its ambitious program to become the "most competitive and dynamic economy in the world capable of sustainable development by offering more and better jobs and social cohesion ( Five years of EU migration and asylum policy-making under the Amsterdam and Tampere mandates – Jan Niessen). Requirements of globalization leave no other choice but rational consideration of options that would facilitate the achievement of goals. That is why Europe must continue on the path of managing immigration, social commitment and support global sustainable development (Five years of EU migration and asylum policy-making under the Amsterdam and Tampere mandates – Jan Niessen).

On the other hand, the EU has set as a priority to combat illegal immigration. Each year 500,000 illegal immigrants are arrested in Europe; from them an average of 40% have returned to their home countries, yet 300,000 were stopped at the border. This priority is given extra significance because of the fact that illegal immigration and transnational organized crime interact directly and affect European security. EU pursues this goal through internal (tougher sanctions against employers, recruiting illegal immigrants, as some Member States undertake to strengthen its labor control) and external measures. The tools available to the EU are the European Fund for external borders, the European Return Fund and the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation in peripheral regions or briefly Frontex. The latter deals with the conduct of joint operations (currently 25 in number) at land and sea borders and airports of the EU in order to prevent illegal immigrants to reach European territory.

Considering that Frontex operates mainly at the southern maritime borders of the EU, and Brussels, actively lobbying to achieve cooperation agreements with outgoing and transit countries, it is not surprising that some authors speak of "externalization of European migration policy". Frontex has a total reserve which covers 100 vessels, 20 aircraft, 25 helicopters, and the number of employees accounting to 600, who are in constant readiness for the ad hoc operations with the advent of crisis points. This seemingly sound impressive, but it is insufficient in terms of the spatial dimensions of the task. Only southern European maritime borders with Canary, Azores and Madeira are long 34,000 km, combined with ever-increasing attempts of whole ships full of illegal immigrants from Africa, to land on European shores makes further expanding the agency's inevitable. In order to illustrate the human flood that wells up at the gates of the EU will cite as an example the small strip of land between West Africa and the Canary Islands. When patrol operations under Spanish leadership and participation of the coastal guard of Senegal and Mauritania in 2007 were captured and returned 14,000 people trying to reach Spanish territory. Politicians assessed the work of Frontex positively - so, in 2009, Spanish Prime Minister Sabatero announced that the number of immigrants reaching the EU water has fallen by half. However, the sad consequences of tighter security policy should be mentioned. In a peculiar game of cat and mouse immigrants were forced to use increasingly long roundabout routes in order to avoid the forces of Frontex.

In conclusion to this literature review, it should be concluded that the EU has significant opportunities to influence the route to the territory of the Union migration flows. Of vital importance for Europe is to be able to make optimal use of the positive aspects of this process. Whether the need for the EU to have a fully harmonized common migration policy is questionable. Member states still have very big differences among themselves, some of whom are themselves affected by the process of immigration. Therefore, a reasonable solution seems each country in the EU alone to cover their need for immigrants according to their own priorities (Boswell, Christina & Andrew Geddes, Migration and Mobility in the European Union, Palgrave Macmillan", London, UK, 2011).

Despite all the abovementioned facts, it remains a warning to be meaningful, migration can not be seen as an easy lasting solution to the challenges facing European future. It can not fight structural unemployment and fiscal inefficiency of many Member States and of itself EU headquarters in Brussels. In this sense, European countries should turn to face their own accumulated for decades problems and use the deepening financial crisis to implement unpopular but necessary reforms. Already out of control welfare state can not be maintained in the future in this form, and pension and social assistance programs will sooner or later have to undergo significant cuts.

Research question

One of the main conditions for a stable political community is the creation of a collective "nation", supported by the myths and able to create and control the political power (Canovan 2005:138). Immigration as a phenomenon is probably the most significant challenge facing the stability of identificational structure for "people", by physically "injecting" the person into the community, together with its values, skills, qualities and flaws. And this is the big research question - what and should be done by the European Union for its migrational policies. Immigrational policy focuses on political discourse related to identity and is an essential tool for defining the limits of the political community ( "people").

That is why immigration is regarded first and foremost as a dangerous compromise with the defined principle of statehood. Empirical data show that EU preferences for cultural unity of the nation and the preservation of national sovereignty as an expression of affection for the nation-State, are associated with a more negative assessment of the immigration phenomenon (Sides and Citrin 2007:499). In addition, the EU citizens greatly overestimate the proportion of immigrants into their societies, which is explained by the media stories about the various visible immigrants – Muslims and/or of another race (Sides and Citrin 2007:499).

The temporal and geographical dimensions of immigration should also be taken into account. Immigration usually becomes an important political question tens of years after the first waves of immigration. The significant increase in immigration levels and the geographical distribution of immigrants out of several large polises lead to the generation of a significantly organized opposition to this phenomenon (Hopkins 2010). Within the settlements, the territorial segregation of immigrants leads to a significant support for the anti-immigrant political movements (Biggs and Knauss 2012). One possible explanation is the perceived danger of the creation of the political representation of immigrants (Dancygier 2010), which would further erose the construction for "people", which has to be beyond political dichotomies between the members of the political community. This concern is not entirely irrelevant in so far as the immigrants often build their own ethno-political identity as a tool for creating and maintaining trust and solidarity within the immigrant community (Portes and Sensenbrenner 1993, Hopkins 2010).

The link between ethno-political identity, cultural homogeneity and opposition to immigration is extremely unfavourable to the development of the integration process . The completion of the internal market requires complete freedom of movement and establishment for EU citizens throughout the Union. Through the lens of identity, however, the Bulgarian immigrant is the same, as the Pakistani, in the eyes of the British. This effect is cleverly used by opponents of the integration process, as they represent the nationals of other Member States as equally "dangerous" immigrants as the ones coming from third countries. The specified diskurse approach leads to the positioning of the EU as a defender of immigration and immigrants. The EU is described as an organization aimed at undermining of national identity through immigration to "steal" the political power of the "people. Said in other words, within this populist discourse, the EU represents a real threat to the defining principle of statehood.

Three trends support the increasingly big audibility of these populist messages against the role of the EU (Mudde 2013). The tabloidization of political discourse is the key – some media completely ignored the ethical principles of journalism and extremely one-sided mix selected facts and untruths that discredit the EU and validated the thesis populist movements (Gripsrud 2000). The effects of the economic and financial crisis increased the sensitivity of the electorates to economic inequality and social policy measures of the Member States. In this situation the scarce public resource is expected to be spent only for the purposes of "the people", not the immigrants. The professionalization of populist parties and movements is the third crucial factor for their success. There are attempts at more sustainable cooperation between the far right and populist parties and movements, including the exchange of experience and joint actions, directed against the principles and values of the EU. The last example in this direction was the participation of observers from right-wing and populist parties in Europe referendum for independence of the Crimean peninsula ( Russia invites EU far-right to observe Crimea vote. EUobserver, 13.03.2014

At first glance, the result of the development of these trends is extremely disturbing. In the last 20 years, the result of the far right and populist parties in the various kinds of elections in the EU is constantly increasing. Often they participate directly or indirectly in ruling coalitions in the individual Member States. A thorough reform of the electoral legislation, backed by all major political parties, can deprive these largely populist movements of their structurally competitive advantage.

The political and social aspects of the perceived by the citizens of the Member States immigration threat are extremely important, because there is a limited space for political action. Beyond the objective to limit the maximum immigration flow, the Governments of the Member States and the EU institutions should apply varied and sometimes contradictory measures to limit the negative effects and the real integration of immigrants. The successful integration of immigrants is a key instrument for tackling the major challenges associated with the negative assessments ,but should be carried out consistently, since a clear definition of objectives, resources and responsibilities (Collett and Petrovic).


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How is the current Refugee Flow affecting the Migration Policies in the European Union
New Bulgarian University
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refugee flow, migration policy, EU impact
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Silvia Stamenova (Author), 2016, How is the current Refugee Flow affecting the Migration Policies in the European Union, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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