«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»
Secondly, the findings of the study provide insights into the role played by the Commission in the process of border reconstruction. Thus, it is related to one of the primary theoretical debates within Integration Studies – the debate between more Intergovernmentalist accounts and Neo-functionalist accounts. The findings highlight the grounds on which Commission documents justify the need for further integration, thus contributing to decreased importance of internal EU borders. Also, the border construction and reconstruction trends demonstrate some of the important limitations the Commission faces in fulfilling in practice the drive towards decreasing the salience of internal borders in the EU. Furthermore, these trends enable analysis of the factors leading to and the specific ways in which external EU borders are configured in Commission discourse. These border alterations lead to reconfiguration of European borders as well due to the EU being a regional organisation. Thirdly, the detailed examination of Commission documents will allow me to analyse the ways in which various kinds of borders are articulated, thus demonstrating any differences and similarities across the policy areas examined.
Given the complexity of both the integration project and the question of borders, this study specifies a more concrete time frame and issue areas on which it will focus.
Such delineation maps out the scope of the research. Although in the section on the methodology of the research in the next chapter I explain in greater detail the reasons behind the choice of each of the above, below I briefly outline the period and the policy areas that are considered in this inquiry.
In this thesis I concentrate on examining the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), border controls, free movement of people, and social policy. There are two main reasons for this selection. The first of them is related to borders. Although, as the Literature Review in the next chapter will reveal, there is a growing number of studies dealing with EU borders, they nevertheless tend to focus in their overwhelming majority on several main issues such as Schengen, migration, or the EU‟s relations with its neighbours. These are all areas that traditionally have been concerned with regulating the relationship of an entity with the outside world and have thus conventionally been associated with borders. Hence, it is no surprise that studies devoted to EU borders are 14 often related to the EU‟s external limits. Yet, there are other areas in which Commission documents configure borders that are not usually in the limelight. These can be exemplified by the undertakings in a number of areas related to the completion of the internal market, such as social policy, the free movement of workers, or monetary union. All these are more closely related to the enterprise of economic integration than to “high politics” and therefore are not usually associated with borders. If they are, the focus tends to be on the trend towards decreasing the salience of internal EU borders as a result of the integration process. Thus, as far as Union borders are concerned, there are two types of policy areas – one explicitly related to borders and another much less so.
Therefore, I look into two policies that are clearly related to borders (ENP and border controls) and two policies that are not usually directly associated with borders (free movement of people and social policy). Engagement with the former type of policies is necessary due to its salience when dealing with borders, while with the latter because it will provide important new insights.
The second reason for selecting these case studies is related to the Commission.
Given the complex governing structure of the EU, the Commission has different powers and responsibilities depending on the issue area.10 The policies listed above are from different pillars, which will allow seeing how (if at all) this has had an impact on the ways in which Commission documents configure borders. Furthermore, Schengen was moved from the third to the first pillar with the Treaty of Amsterdam. This will make it possible to analyse if the transfer has had any impact on the configuration of borders in Commission documents.
The policy areas examined, however, are diverse in another way as well – they all have been initiated at different points in time. For example, the issues related to the free movement of workers and social policy have their origins in the Treaty of Rome that was signed in 1957. Border controls are more closely related to the cooperation of Interior Ministries that was launched by the Schengen Agreement, signed in 1985, which initially started outside of the framework of the EC. The ENP was only established in the wake of the Eastern Enlargement in 2003. This inevitably poses the 10 There are three pillars in the governing structure of the EU. The powers and responsibilities of the Commission are greatest in the first one, where the cooperation is supranational and it has the sole power of legislative initiative. In the other two pillars, cooperation is still intergovernmental and the Commission shares its legislative initiative rights with the Council of Ministers.
15 question of what is the time frame of the research? Given the number of policy areas to be examined, it is not possible to examine each of them from the time they were initiated. Therefore, the way the time frame was decided upon needs to be spelled out. I have focused my study of Commission documents on examination of those issued in the period after 1987 when the Single European Act (SEA) came into force. The reason for this is that this Treaty explicitly aimed at “progressively establishing the internal market … “11, where the internal market is defined as: “… an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured …” 12. The SEA is widely regarded as a manifestation of the revival of integration efforts after a long period of stagnation in 1970s. This definition of the internal market shows it clearly aims at diminishing the significance of internal borders, and thus, provides a fertile ground for critical engagement with the integration-borders nexus.
Chapter Two will now develop the theoretical framework that will allow examining how Commission documents configure borders in the next four chapters. To that end Chapter Two provides an overview of the relevant academic debates, focusing more specifically on the existing studies on EU borders, on briefly reviewing the major theoretical approaches to studying borders and on outlining the different positions on the Commission‟s role in the process of integration. The aim of these reviews is to present the main developments in the relevant fields and to identify the problems and shortcomings in each of them, which this research addresses. The second section develops the theoretical framework of the research. I present my account of the Commission‟s role in the process of integration and reconfiguration of borders, elaborate on my understanding of how borders are created and classify them. This clarifies my understanding of the main terms of the study and the ways they interrelate with each other. The third section presents in detail the methodology of this study – it introduces the double reading technique, the type of Commission documents that are studied and the ways in which the documents were interrogated.
Chapters Three, Four, Five and Six form the empirical part of the investigation by looking at exactly how Commission documents in the various policy areas configure 11 Article 13 of the Single European Act, available at http://www.unizar.es/euroconstitucion/library/historic%20documents/SEA/Single%20European%20Act.p df, accessed on 22.10.2007 12 Ibid.
16 borders. Chapter Three is devoted to the configuration of borders in the area of border controls. Chapter Four deals with the area of free movement of people. These two chapters are instances of Commission documents either striving to open up internal EU borders or being more explicit about the ways in which they configure borders. In that respect, although they are still ambiguous to some extent, they are examples of more straightforward or positive configuration of borders in the documents of the Commission. Chapter Five critically examines Commission documents on social policy and Chapter Six engages with Commission documents on the ENP. In comparison to the first two empirical chapters these two chapters are instances of much more ambiguous configuration of borders by Commission documents. They provide examples of these documents not only opening up spaces but also of actively closing spaces.
Thus, in these two areas the tendencies towards the construction and reconstruction of borders by Commission documents are more pronounced. Importantly, these latter tendencies are not always explicit and can only be unveiled through a reading of Commission documents that relates them with other documents in the same or a different policy area that reveal the inherent contradictions between them and by analising the silences within the discourses.
The thesis finishes with a Conclusion Chapter, which summarises the findings of the study. It highlights that although the articulations of the Commission in all the policy areas emphasise the existence of a common area in the EU, a critical examination of the discourses also reveals enunciations that contribute to construction and reconstruction of borders. Despite this underlying common trend, across the policy areas there are variations along two major lines. Firstly, different types of borders are configured in different fields. For example, while social policy discourse configures primarily identity borders, border controls one deals overwhelmingly with territorial borders. Secondly, the particular contribution of the Commission to the configuration of borders has been different. The Commission has been successful in promoting its more inclusive vision towards highly qualified Third Country Nationals in the Blue Card initiative. This was not the case in the field of long-term visas, however, where Commission articulations merely reproduce already existing settlements. I also argue that although Neo-functionalist accounts can be seen as providing a ground for anticipating Commission‟s favourable disposition to the construction of EU‟s external
2.1. Introduction As I have shown in Chapter One, Commission articulations on controversial political issues display ambiguous configurations of borders. This is in tune with the argument of many EU observers that European integration has led to the construction and reconstruction of borders. One of the most important examples of that is the emergence of the EU‟s external borders. Despite this observation, at present there is a lack of an in-depth examination into the particular ways in which EU borders are constructed and reconstructed in Commission discourse, which has had a central role in furthering integration and hence, border transformations. The present study seeks to rectify that. Such an engagement will not only provide a much more comprehensive understanding of the ways in which the Commission configures borders but will also allow analysis of the specific ways in which various borders are enunciated. In order to be able to successfully engage with these issues, however, I have to first address core conceptual questions, which is the aim of this chapter, thus laying down the foundations of the empirical part of the study.
This chapter is divided into three main sections. The first one reviews the current academic debates on the effects of integration on EU borders, the main approaches to studying borders and the different accounts of the role played by the Commission in the process of integration. My aim is twofold. On the one hand I want to present the major debates and findings of these studies and on the other to identify issues they do not address exhaustively. Building on these reviews, in the second part I develop my theoretical framework. I present my accounts of what borders are, why and how the Commission can influence the construction of EU borders and analyse the different possible border configurations by the Commission. This clarifies my position, situates it within the wider academic debates and presents the main lines that structure 19 the analysis in the following chapters. The third section deals with the methodological issues of the research. It explains how the data was selected and collected and how I analysed it.
2.2. Academic Debates on EU Borders and the Commission There are three main brands of academic literature that are pertinent to this research, which I review in this section. These are the debates on the role played by the Commission in the process of integration in the EU, the different approaches to border studies in Political Science and the investigations into the impact on borders of the integration process in the EU.
2.2.1. Studies on EU borders There are several main ways in which the EU borders have inspired the research of scholars. The first brand is concerned with the multiplication of spaces in Europe.
For example Bialasiewicz, Elden and Pinter1, Balibar2, Diez3, Rumford and Delanty4 all point to some of the major changes that have led to significant shifts in the organisation of space in Europe and the EU. In a nutshell these are a result of the process of European integration that has led to a redefinition of the relationship between inside (the specific country) and the outside (the arena of international relations) through the transfer of sovereignty from the central state governments upwards towards the institutions of the EU and downwards towards local authorities. The occurrence of such changes is important as a point of departure for my research because the process of the multiplication of spaces logically goes hand in hand with the multiplication of borders, which happens in two main ways. Firstly, the multiplicity of spaces entails a variety of borders (on the same principle on which the increasing number of sovereign states has 1 Luiza Bialasiewicz, Stuart Elden, Joe Pinter, „Constitution of EU Territory‟, Comparative European Politics, 3: 3 (2005), pp. 333-363 2 Etienne Balibar, „The Borders of Europe‟ in Pheng Cheah, Bruce Robinson (eds), Cosmopolitics.
Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation (Minneapolis: University of Minnestota Press, 1998), pp. 216Thomas Diez, „The Paradoxes of Europe‟s Borders‟, Comparative European Politics, 4: 2/3 (2006), pp.