«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»
The second way, in which the Commission can influence the renegotiations of EU bordering practices concerns the adoption of decisions that fall under the other two pillars where the Commission does not enjoy exclusive rights of initiative. In these areas, the Commission can sway the decision-making in its preferred direction by utilising its powers in informal agenda setting. Even scholars that are in general quite skeptical on the ability of the Commission to successfully perform an entrepreneurial role, such as Pollack, acknowledge this. According to him, the Commission is particularly well placed to set the agenda informally: “the Commission has no monopoly over informal agenda setting, but it may nevertheless have a comparative advantage over other potential agenda setters, such as member governments or private actors.”140 It does that by carrying out the other functions it is charged with. Overall, these functions are rooted in the Commission‟s role as an implementer of EU‟s policies, which is its major role in the second and third pillars. As a result of the Commission being involved very closely in the day-to-day running and administration of these policy areas through carrying out the decisions that are taken and through executing its monitoring and budget managing responsibilities, it acquires knowledge, which is much bigger in its width and depth to the knowledge on these issues of the other major institutions of the EU.
leading repository of knowledge and expertise about EU policies 141 and possessing:
“extensive technical expertise and a fund of information about the content and impact of EU policies”. 142 This puts the Commission in a very advantaged position in the sense that it is the most likely actor to be asked for advice on any of the current or future policies in the EU. In turn, this allows the Commission to try to push ahead by putting on the formal agenda any propositions that it may deem appropriate.
Furthermore, as I explained above, given the Treaty provisions and its own selfinterest, it is to be expected that the suggestions and plans the Commission comes up with will be in favour of promoting further integration, hence, diminishing the significance of internal EU borders. Such an expectation is further justified by the widely held belief in the Commission itself that it has a duty to incite integration. As Ludlow argues: “the function of animateur permeates the whole structure and ethos of the institution”. 143 Therefore, the Commission can and does set the agenda even in the areas of the ENP or border controls prior to 2001 where it does not enjoy any formal powers to do this. The continuous linkage in Commission documents just after the adoption of the SEA of border control issues with free movement exemplifies this. This linkage pushed for inclusion of border controls into the formal framework of the EC/EU. I look into this matter in greater detail in Chapter Three.
The Commission is, therefore, in a good position to successfully sway the decision-making process in the EU, on both first pillar and second and third pillar issues in favour of further integration and hence, creating common spaces in the EU. This process, however, as Neo-functionalists correctly expected, in fact has ambiguous effects on EU‟s borders. Namely, simultaneously with the decreased significance of internal EU borders, it leads to the emergence of the Union‟s external borders.
According to Schmitter this expectation is a result of the initial presumptions of Neofunctionalists that the process of integration will eventually lead to the emergence of: “a supranational state with most of the generic features of the national states it was 141 Neill Nugent, „The Leadership Capacity of the European Commission‟, Journal of European Public Policy, 2: 4 (1995), pp. 603-623, p. 608 142 Neill Nugent, The European Commission (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), p. 210 143 Ludlow, cited in Neill Nugent, „The Leadership Capacity of the European Commission‟, Journal of European Public Policy, 2: 4 (1995), pp. 603-623, p. 610 (emphasis in the original) 55 supposed to transform”. 144 This assumption of the “end-state” is exemplified by the persistent efforts in early integration research to reach a conclusion on what should this process lead towards145 as well as the main characteristics of integration provided by the founding fathers of Neo-functionalism. For example, Lindberg has defined as one of the conditions for political integration the development of new central institutions and central policies146 and Haas expected that under integration, in the long-term, the loyalties and expectations of the populations would transfer from the nation-states to the larger supranational entity.147 Thus, overall, the end result envisaged by Haas is: “more than a pluralistic security community and less than a political community, defined as the successful pluralistic-democratic state writ large. 148 Under these assumptions it is hardly surprising that Neo-functionalists did not foresee the disappearance of nationalism as guaranteed under integration. 149 This is because as Schmitter correctly hypothesises once nation-states have reached an agreement to integrate, they will be compelled to adopt common policies towards third countries not involved in this endeavour. He refers to this process as externalisation and suggests that the more successful the efforts towards cooperation are, the greater the external challenges are likely to be. 150 Thus, Neo-functionalist literature envisages that supranational institutions, including the Commission, will represent a centralised upgrading of common interests in a way very similar to a bigger nation-state.151 Therefore, arguably they anticipate the firmer position of the Commission with regards to the external EU borders and the ambiguous effects on borders by integration. Section 2.2.1. has demonstrated in practice this ambiguity.
144 Philippe Schmitter, „Neo-Neofunctionalism‟ in Thomas Diez, Antje Wiener (eds), European Integration Theory (1st ed.) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 45-74, p. 69 145 A famous article that engages with this problem is Donald Puchala, „Of Blind Men, Elephants and International Integration‟, Journal of Common Market Studies, 10: 3 (1972), pp. 267-284 146 Leon Lindberg, The Political Dynamics of European Economic Integration (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1963), p. 7 (emphasis added) 147 Haas cited in Wayne Sandholtz, John Zysman, „1992: Recasting the European Bargain‟, World Politics, 42: 1 (1989), pp. 95-128, p. 98.
148 Ernst Hass, „The Study of Regional Integration: Reflections on the Joy and Anguish of Pretheorizing‟, International Organization, 24: 4 (1970), pp. 607-646, p. 631 149 See Idid, p. 645 and Ernst Haas, „International Integration: The European and the Universal Process‟, International Organization, 15: 3 (1961), pp. 366-392, pp. 391-392 150 Philippe Schmitter, „Three Neo-Functional Hypotheses about International Integration‟, International Organization, 23: 1 (1969), pp. 161-166, p. 165 151 Ernst Haas, „International Integration: The European and the Universal Process‟, International Organization, 15: 3 (1961), pp. 366-392 56 Nevertheless, Neo-functionalists do not explicitly interrogate what this ambivalence will mean for the developments at the external EU borders. Thus, there is a lack of detailed analysis of the Commission contribution to the processes at the outer edges of the Union. One of the contributions of the present study is to fill this gap. I argue that the Commission has facilitated the emergence of salient external EU borders through the following main means. Firstly, it has accepted and used the assumptions on which certain EU policies are based. Secondly, it has utilised spillover in support of further cooperation at EU level and towards harmonisation of the legal provisions of the member states. Thirdly, the Commission has advanced the emergence of common identity in the EU through articulations of the “Other” and common treats to the Union.
All of these contribute to the emergence of EU‟s external borders by sharpening the distinction between the Union and other parts of the world. Furthermore, following the varying competences of the Commission discussed above, in some policy areas it plays a more independent role, while in others it is more a passive supporter of the preferences of other EU institutions. The empirical chapters provide detailed empirical illustrations of these claims.
Despite my argument that the Commission can exercise independent influence in the decision-making process in the EU and hence have an input into the configuration of borders, in doing this it also faces important constraints. Pollack has contributed 152 As a result, according to Lequesne: “… the EU significantly in outlining them.
Commission agents can mobilise specific resources in order to behave as “policy entrepreneurs” in the EU polity with a certain degree of autonomy from the national governments … this policy entrepreneurship is also constrained by endogeneous and exogeneous factors which make the Commission dependent on the national governments in the EU polity.” 153 In practice, however, it is very difficult to examine these constraints because as Pollack points out, the Commission is prone to anticipating 152 Mark Pollack, „Delegation, Agency and Agenda Setting in the European Community‟, International Organization, 51: 1 (1997), pp. 99-134; Mark Pollack, „The Commission as an Agent‟ in Neill Nugent (ed.), At the Heart of the Union – Studies of the European Commission (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997), pp. 109-128; Mark Pollack, „The Engines of Integration? Supranational Autonomy and Influence in the European Union‟ in Wayne Sandholtz, Alec Stone Sweet (eds), European Integration and Supranational Governance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 217- 249 153 Christian Lequesne, „The European Commission: a Balancing Act between Autonomy and Dependence‟ in Karlheinz Neureither, Antje Wiener (eds), European Integration after Amsterdam – Institutional Dynamics and Prospects for Democracy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 36-51, p. 37 57 the reaction of the Council to its proposals and to tailor them accordingly. 154 However, this situation poses a bigger problem when the Commission discourse is perceived as having a single author. If one understands it as expressing multiple voices, this becomes less important because by definition the discourse is prone to external influences. It is not expected to be completely coherent. In fact, to a large extent, the ambiguous configuration of borders in Commission discourse is a result of the contradicting tendencies that are promoted by various actors. In the present study, this is best illustrated in the Chapter on Free Movement of People. Although in this policy area the Commission discourse promotes the emergence of a common space in the EU, it only manages to achieve this at the expense of establishing some categories of people that still do not have complete freedom of movement in the EU.
The question of the Commission anticipating the Council reactions to its proposals and adjusting them accordingly also brings to the fore another crucial issue that has to be addressed. If that is the case, I have to spell out why in the empirical chapters I interpret the silences and contradictions in Commission discourse as constructing borders. Alternatively, these silences and contradictions can be interpreted in a much more positive way as the Commission wanting to go further but currently having to make concessions, which are only tactical. The reason for my interpretation is that regardless of Commission‟s intensions or long-term aims, on a discursive level, its current articulations give rise to a particular system of inclusion and exclusion and in that respect still recreate (rather than completely dispose of) borders. This is well exemplified by the Blue Card initiative, discussed in section 4.5.1., which envisages the right of highly qualified TCNs to move within the EU for work purposes. Although this can create a precedent in allowing TCNs to benefit from rights currently reserved only for EU citizens, Commission discourse achieves this at the expense of establishing a distinction between qualified and non-qualified TCNs, which in effect draws a dividing line between them.
This discussion shows that the Commission is not only an actor that due to its responsibilities under the Treaties of the EC/EU and its self-interest can be expected to promote further integration. In fact, arguably, it can (although under certain conditions) 154 Mark Pollack, „Delegation, Agency and Agenda Setting in the European Community‟, International Organization, 51: 1 (1997), pp. 99-134, p. 110. Hix also makes this argument in Simon Hix, The Political System of the European Union (2nd ed.) (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 53-57 58 sway the decision-making process in the EU in its preferred direction. Even more importantly, as I have argued above, this is the case not only for first pillar issues, where the Commission‟s powers are strongest, but also for matters that fall under the second and the third pillar, where the leverage of the Commission is weaker. Taken together, these constitute very strong reasons for examining the Commission contribution in the construction and reconstruction of EU borders. Having presented an account of how I see borders in the previous section, and here outlined the main mechanisms through which the Commission configures borders, the next issue I have to look into is what exactly are the different kinds of borders that the Commission can construct and reconstruct in its discourse. Also, I have to elaborate on how exactly are these various types of borders constructed in the discourse of the Commission. These are the questions I deal with in the last part of the Theoretical Framework.
2.3.3. What borders does the Commission discourse configure?
In this section, my goal is to develop the framework that will guide the analysis in the empirical part of the study. I want to present a classification of the various types of borders that can be constructed or reconstructed in the discourse of the Commission.