The European Union and the Securitization of Migration

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Abstract

This article deals with the question of how migration has developed into a security issue in western Europe and how the European integration process is implicated in it. Since the 1980s, the political construction of migration increasingly referred to the destabilizing effects of migration on domestic integration and to the dangers for public order it implied. The spillover of the internal market into a European internal security question mirrors these domestic developments at the European level. The Third Pillar on Justice and Home Affairs, the Schengen Agreements, and the Dublin Convention most visibly indicate that the European integration process is implicated in the development of a restrictive migration policy and the social construction of migration into a security question. However, the political process of connecting migration to criminal and terrorist abuses of the internal market does not take place in isolation. It is related to a wider politicization in which immigrants and asylum-seekers are portrayed as a challenge to the protection of national identity and welfare provisions. Moreover, supporting the political construction of migration as a security issue impinges on and is embedded in the politics of belonging in western Europe. It is an integral part of the wider technocratic and political process in which professional agencies – such as the police and customs – and political agents – such as social movements and political parties – debate and decide the criteria for legitimate membership of west European societies.

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