«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»
It is along this differentiation of borders that the analysis of Commission documents in the following chapters is structured. Furthermore, in this part, drawing on the arguments developed above, I elaborate in detail how each of these borders is created, thus providing the background that informs the subsequent interpretation of the discourse of the Commission in the empirical part of the research.
In this study I classify borders along two main lines. Firstly, as discussed in section 2.2.1., following Geddes there is a distinction between territorial (physical), functional and conceptual (identity) borders.155 Secondly, in distinction to the majority of the studies reviewed above that tend to emphasise either the decreased salience of borders or the erections of new dividing lines, I analyse three major possible outcomes on the borders of the member states as a result of the process of European integration.
Each of these trends can be manifested on territorial, functional or identity borders.
Firstly, increased cooperation can lead to the decreased salience of previously existing borders between the member states of the Union, thus creating a new common 155 See p. 24 above for a definition of each of these types of borders (territorial, functional and identity).
59 space in the EU. In the empirical chapters, I refer to this trend as “de-bordering” or decreased salience of borders. For territorial borders this tendency is manifested through allowing access to the territory of the member states without formalities. The debordering tendencies in the Commission discourse are articulated predominantly through formulation of measures removing the existing obstacles to movement. As such, they facilitate movement on the territory of the EU by dismantling previously existing physical borders between the member states. In a somewhat similar way, debordering for functional borders involves reducing the administrative requirements and the necessary bureaucratic procedures for gaining access to different sites, such as the labour markets of other member states. For identity borders de-bordering is characterised by the construction of a common identity of the population of the EU.
There are two main ways in which the discourse of the Commission constructs common identity in the EU - firstly, through down-playing the differences between the member states of the EU and secondly, through continuous references to inclusive words, such as the pronouns “our”, “ours”, “we”, which point to the existence of common historical traditions, civilization, experiences, thinking, perceptions, current challenges an so on and the labeling of contemporary undertakings as “common action”or “joint endeavour”.
Secondly, as Diez points out, the process of de-bordering in the EU is taking place when the focus is on the inside of the EU. However, this simultaneously erects new borders on the outside.156 It is this creation of a new outside border for the EU, which I mean when I talk about border-construction and border reconstruction. To the extent that the borders of the member states do not disappear completely, one can talk about border reconstruction. However, due to the fact that the new borders that are established at the outer edges of the Union are also the limits of an international actor in its own right, it becomes meaningful to talk about border-construction. In the empirical parts of the study, I refer to this process as the construction of the external borders of the EU.
For territorial and functional borders this is manifested through the emergence of new regimes regulating the entry into the territory, labour market or welfare state of the Union and its member states for third country nationals. The main way in which the 156 Thomas Diez, „The Paradoxes of Europe‟s Borders‟, Comparative European Politics, 4: 2/3 (2006), pp.235-252, p. 236 60 discourse of the Commission constructs the external borders of the EU is through articulating some kind of common threat for the Union and building on this, its discourses argue in favour of various undertakings that are deemed necessary and capable for addressing this danger. The articulation of threat is also core to the construction and reconstruction of identity borders. Following post-structuralists, identity borders emerge as a result of articulations of “Self” and “Other”. The reason for this is that the function of identity is twofold – internally to define the community, and externally, to differentiate between the community and the outside. Thus, these articulations contribute to the drawing of boundaries which describe who may be included and who may be excluded. O'Hagan outlines this process well. It involves two interrelated occurrences. One of them is the process of defining collective identity. This is achieved through a perception of shared norms, beliefs, institutions, values and goals.
The other one, which according to post-structuralists is crucial, is differentiation. It is the concept of the “Other” that provides the axis on which acceptable and unacceptable political activities and identity are constructed. Thus, political identity often emerges with greater clarity when the polity confronts the individual whose inclusion is ambiguous. This helps to generate abstract principles upon which the community or polity is based.157 Hence, Campbell argues: “… the constitution of identity is achieved through the inscription of boundaries that serve to demarcate an “inside” from an “outside”, a “self” from an “other”, a “domestic” from a “foreign””. 158 Thus, the discourse of the Commission constructs the external identity borders of the EU through articulations that create perceptions of what does and what does not belong to the EU.
Thirdly, the Commission discourse can reconstruct internal borders inside the EU.159 In section 2.2.1. I outlined the major types of internal borders in the EU. In this study, the term “internal EU border” denotes a situation, in which contrary to the traditional aims of integration striving to establish a common space between the member states, certain aspects of various Union policies lead to the creation of divisions either between the EU member states or between various other entities inside the Union.
157 Jacinta O'Hagan, Conceptualizing the West in International Relations – from Spengler to Said (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002), p. 40, and pp. 47-50 158 David Campbell, Writing Security – United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity (2nd ed.) (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), p. 9 159 For a discussion on EU internal borders see Peter-Christian Müller-Graff, „Whose Responsibility are Frontiers?‟ in Malcolm Anderson, Eberhard Bort (eds), The Frontiers of Europe (London: Pinter, 1998), pp. 11-21 61 I view the former as a result of incomplete integrative measures, which in effect recreate the distinction between the member states and point to the continued existence and significance of their national borders. Furthermore, because the integration efforts also affect groups of people inside the EU, new internal functional and identity borders also emerge. Therefore, integration can result in incomplete de-bordering in the EU when differences between the member states may persist and when new divisions are created within the EU population. These new borders, however, are quite likely to take different forms in comparison to the situation prior to the initiation of integration efforts. For territorial and functional borders the reconstruction of an internal border arises if as a result of cooperation in the Union different categories of people emerge in terms of their rights and regime to access the territory or labour markets and welfare states of the EU member states. Namely, despite the Commission rhetoric about the creation of an area without internal barriers there are still categories of people that face obstacles for their free movement in the Union. The reconstruction of identity internal borders is a consequence of the emergence of certain categories of people as an “internal Other” from the articulations of the Commission, thus creating a division within the EU population.
The concept of an “internal Other” is another term grounded in poststructuralism. As I elaborated above, they argue that because of the dense texture of any theory or discourse complete fixity of meaning is impossible. Derrida has demonstrated this argument through deconstruction. Thus, post-structuralists maintain that within each discourse there are possibilities to defer and disrupt indefinitely its claim to sufficiency and closure. Crucially, for post-structuralists these disruptions are internal to the discourse.160 These disruptions mean that within every discourse there will be internal inconsistencies and contradictions. The emergence of “Internal Other” is one instance of such inconsistencies and contradictions. In this case, it occurs when a part of the population of the EU is articulated in the discourse of the European Commission as possessing qualities concurrent with the qualities attributed to the “Other” for the Union. Such articulations contribute to the reconstruction of the internal divisions in the Union because they obstruct the establishment of a perception of sameness within the population of the EU.
160 Derrida cited in William E. Connolly, Identity/ Difference – Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox (London: Cornell University Press, 1994), p. 50 62 Thus, overall, in the empirical chapters of the study I analyse the ways in which Commission articulations configure EU and European borders along two main lines.
Firstly, I ask: do they contribute to the emerging of a common space in the area in question, thus leading to a decreased salience of borders or do they instead contribute to the construction of an internal or external border? Secondly, I look into whether this configuration refers to a territorial, functional or identity border through the construction of unification/ distinction. Given the wide variety of policy areas in which the Commission is involved, the over sixty years of existence of the EC/EU and the different ways to interpret Commission documents, I have to present my account of the time-frame of the study, the reasons for choosing these four policy areas and the ways in which I interrogated the Commission documents. These form the methodology of the study.
2.4. Methodology of the research In order to be able to provide a detailed account of how integration efforts have led to ambiguous configurations of borders in Commission discourse, I have to do two main things. Firstly, I have to demonstrate that despite the explicit overwhelming focus only on de-bordering in Commission documents, these articulations have contributed to the emergence of new borders and to the reconstruction of old ones. Secondly, I need to analyse the specific contribution of the European Commission in this process. The question is, however, how can these two issues be studied? The aim of this part is to provide an answer to these questions by explaining the methodology of the research. In order to do this, it has to address the following main issues: what is the time-frame of the research; what are the policy areas under investigation; why did I choose this particular period and policies; which documents will form the empirical material for the research; according to what criteria were they selected; and how will I analyse them?
Effectively, I have to elaborate on how I gathered and analysed the information forming the bulk of the research. However, prior to that I look into the time frame and policy areas of the study.
63 2.4.1. Why this period? Why these Policy areas?
My research examines the discourse of the European Commission in the period after the adoption of the SEA in 1987. The period under investigation in this study is limited due to the large amount of documents that have to be examined. The second half of the 1980s is a good starting point for this investigation because this period has been acknowledged as a time when the integration efforts gained new impetus. As a result, various kinds of borders have been constructed and reconstructed, thus providing a fertile ground for the empirical analysis. Given this importance of the SEA for the study, below I provide a brief outline of the core ideas and aims of the single market with the aim of providing the necessary background for the subsequent references in the examined documents. In terms of the goals of this initiative, I focus specifically on the articulations that clearly configure borders.
The Single Market Initiative‟s ultimate goal is through economic liberalisation to establish the conditions that will allow for the most efficient use of the factors of production. This is exemplified by the Introduction of the Commission White Paper on the Internal Market, which stipulates that one of the objectives of this endeavor is “ensuring that the market is flexible so that resources, both of people and materials, and of capital and investment, flow into the areas of greatest economic advantage.” 161 In this sense the efforts towards the establishment of the single market represent a continuation of the logic upon which the Treaty of Rome was founded. However, the 1980s Initiative went a step further than the Treaty of the EC. Through its provisions for the adoption of measures towards the removal of physical, technical and fiscal barriers to the movement of factors of production, it made it more difficult for member states to resort to protectionist policies. Examples of such policies are the high number of non-tariff barriers to trade that existed between the members of the Community during the period after the creation of the customs union.162 Furthermore, at the time, these liberal ideas represented not only the logic upon which the integration project in the EC was founded but also were in tune with a way of thinking that was becoming increasingly popular in some parts of the world, the New Right. As Gamble explains in detail, the Neo-liberal economic ideas formed a very important part of the belief system of the Thatcher 161 European Commission, Completing the Internal Market, COM (85) 310 final, 14.06.1985, p. 7 162 Ibid.