«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»
AMBIGUOUS BORDERS: THE EUROPEAN
COMMISSION AND THE RECONSTRUCTION OF
A thesis submitted to the
Department of Political Science and International Studies
of the University of Birmingham
for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy in International Studies
The University of Birmingham May 2010 University of Birmingham Research Archive e-theses repository This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation.
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ABSTRACTThe thrust of this study is to provide a critical reading of the configuration of borders through the discourse of one of the main institutions of the European Union (EU), the European Commission. My starting point is the observation of multiplication and transformation of EU and European borders as a result of the process of integration.
This implies simultaneous processes of de-bordering, border construction and reconstruction. Despite that the overwhelming majority of current research tends to focus on one aspect of these trends at the expense of the others. My premise is that as a supranational institution, the European Commission is ideally placed to provide an empirical illustration of how these processes occurs. It has a vested interest and an ability to promote further integration and therefore, ambiguous border configurations in its discourse highlight current limitations to border transcendence that instead lead to multiplication and transformation of EU and European borders.
The research provides a comprehensive examination of the different types of borders configured by the discourse of the European Commission, thus allowing analysis of how exactly these are articulated. It looks into a number of EU policy areas, border controls, free movement of people, social policy and the European Neighbourhood Policy and, employing the strategy of double reading, examines various Commission documents in the period after the adoption of the Single European Act.
The main body of the thesis starts with a theoretical framework, which outlines the most important concepts used in the research, which inform the analysis in the subsequent empirical chapters.
The major finding of the study is that in each of the policy areas examined, there are ambiguous configurations of borders. At the surface, the Commission discourse tends to focus on formulations that imply decreased importance of borders. A critical engagement with the articulations, however, reveals simultaneous construction and reconstruction of EU external and internal borders. This exposes the inherent limitations to border transcendence and allows interrogating how the ambiguous border configurations are articulated. Thus, the major contribution of the research to the relevant academic fields is to provide a rich empirical account of the different ways in
ECJ European Court of Justice EEA European Economic Area EEC European Economic Community EFTA European Free Trade Area EMoS European Model of Society ENP European Neighbourhood Policy ESM European Social Model ESRC Economic and Social Research Council
EURES European Employment Services EURODAC EU-wide fingerprint database FRONTEX External Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation
FYROM Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia GDP Gross Domestic Product IR International Relations JHA Justice and Home Affairs
POLSIS Political Science and International Studies QMV Qualified Majority Voting R&D Research and Development SAP Stabilisation and Association Process SEA Single European Act SIS Schengen Information System TCN/ s Third Country National/ s TEU Treaty on European Union
BORDERS, INTEGRATION AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSIONOut of the ruins of the Second World War a unique international organisation was created in Europe, the European Community (EC), which in 1990 was incorporated in the European Union (EU). What set the EC apart from other international organisations was the existence of supranational institutions that in principle 1 in certain cases can propose or implement legally binding decisions even without the consent of all the member states. One such institution is the European Commission, which over the years has contributed to pushing forward the process of European integration. For example, over the issue of migration that traditionally has caused a lot of controversy, the Commission position has been: “Let us try to use a new expression: EU mobility.”2 This cross-border mobility means that with the lifting of most internal border controls, EU citizens can move as freely within the EU as they can in their own country. 3 The
Commission stance clearly rejects the fear of being “swamped by foreigners” 4 because:
“The Union‟s long experience with free movement shows that it does not lead to mass migration.”5 This Commission position concurs with the aims of the Preamble of the Treaty of Rome, which declared that the signing parties are: “Determined to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, Resolved to ensure the economic and social progress of their countries by common action to eliminate the 1 Although de jure this settlement has existed since the Treaty of Rome, as a result of the Luxembourg compromise, de facto it was not really used until the Single European Act in the 1980s.
2 Franco Frattini, Enhanced Mobility, Vigorous Integration Strategy and Zero Tolerance to Illegal Employment: a Dynamic Approach to European Immigration Policies, SPEECH/07/526, 13.09.2007, p. 2 (emphasis in the original) 3 http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/top_layer/index_15_en.htm, accessed on 30.06.2009 4 Hans van den Broek, Switzerland and the European Union, SPEECH/96/132, 24.05.1996, p. 3.
Importantly in the speech he refers to other citizens of the EEA. Despite the decades of integration, free movement of workers in the EU can still cause significant debates, as the protests in the UK in the beginning of 2009 clearly showed.
11 barriers which divide Europe”.6 Therefore, from the outset the Founders of the integration process in Europe realised that there is a very important and strong link between integration and borders. If the envisaged “ever closer union” was to be achieved, this would require an alteration in the ways for regulating who is to be allowed in or kept out, and how; the functions performed by borders. The existing divides between the member states have to be replaced with the emergence of a common area. Thus, the example of “EU mobility” can be read as the Commission promoting the opening-up of borders inside the EC/EU, which in turn helps to achieve the goals of European integration. Such an understanding is in tune with one of the most prominent theories of integration, Neo-functionalism, which has long regarded the Commission as the “motor of the integration process”. 7 Furthermore, it concurs with conventional accounts that see the integration process as transcending political, social or economic borders. However, such accounts hold true only when the attention is on the developments inside the European Union, thus leading to decreased significance of internal Union borders. As the discussion in section 2.2.1. illustrates, commentators have on many occasions pointed out that the process of integration in Europe has led to the emergence of a new border at the external edges of the Union. Thus, the integration process is an ambiguous one that overcomes but also constructs new borders.8 The construction of borders under integration can be illustrated by pointing out that when immigration from outside the EU is concerned, the Commission has declared much more limited objectives in relation to migration issues: “I therefore clearly and publicly emphasise that this proposal does not allow one single entry to one single immigrant into the labour markets of the European Union. The Commission is clearly not creating a subjective right to immigration. It is simply aiming at harmonising the procedure for admission.” 9 These more modest goals mean that in distinction to the complete opening-up of borders supported in the previous example, in this case, the 6 Preamble, Treaty of Rome, available at http://www.unizar.es/euroconstitucion/library/historic%20documents/Rome/TRAITES_1957_CEE.pdf, accessed on 16.02.2009 (emphasis added) 7
See for example Chris Shore, Building Europe – the Cultural Politics of European Identity (London:
Routledge, 2000), p. 3 8 Thomas Diez, „The Paradoxes of Europe‟s Borders‟, Comparative European Politics, 4: 2/3 (2006), pp.
235 - 252 9 Antonio Vitorino, Asylum is a Right, Economic Migration is an Opportunity, SPEECH/03/71, 11.02.2003, p. 2. Importantly, in distinction to the example on mobility, which refers to EU citizens, the proposal cited in this quotation refers to non-EU citizens.
12 result will be more selective. Thus, in this second case the Commission in effect promotes the construction and reconstruction of borders.
Therefore, taken together, these examples show ambiguous and dynamic ways in which the articulations of the European Commission configure borders. Despite that, as this study demonstrates, in the overwhelming majority of cases the explicit enunciations of the Commission pertain to the transcendence of borders. Therefore, in order to uncover the trends to construction and reconstruction of borders it is necessary to engage critically with Commission discourse. This will allow me not only to demonstrate the ambiguous ways in which the Commission configures borders but also to examine how exactly these are articulated. This last point is crucial. Although, as the literature review in the next chapter shows, there has been an acknowledgement of the ambiguous relationship between borders and integration, at present there is still insufficient empirical examination of the way in which this has happened. The present study seeks to contribute in addressing this lacuna in the current academic research.
My goal is twofold. On the one hand the critical examination of Commission discourse enables me to point out how despite the prevalent rhetoric of the Commission of border transcendence, the construction and reconstruction of borders, identified by numerous commentators, has come about. On the other hand, I want to interrogate the exact ways in which borders are configured (i.e. explicitly or implicitly; through erecting/ removing physical or identity borders) and the Commission‟s contribution to the process.
Such a critical engagement with the bordering practices of the Commission is of paramount importance if we are to get a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of the ways in which the Commission promotion of integration configures borders. Therefore, this research contributes to the empirical and theoretical debates in border and integration studies in several major ways. Firstly, it contributes towards overcoming more simplistic accounts that tend to focus on one side of this interrelation. Very often, as the review of the academic debates in Chapter Two will reveal, scholars tend to concentrate either on the de-bordering or on the borderconstructing outcomes of integration, thus down-playing the other one. My project, through the concrete case studies included, demonstrates that these two tendencies are 13 simultaneous and are inextricably linked. Such an understanding is crucial for a more realistic account of the link between borders and integration.