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Detailed examination of Commission articulations on the free movement of people will reveal the meaning they ascribe to “Europe”/the “EU”. Furthermore, it will allow analysis of the types of borders that are reconfigured. One of the ways forward in addressing the current economic and demographic threats identified in Commission discourse is to make sure the EU is attractive to highly skilled migrants. As Franco Frattini declared: “We want Europe to become at least as attractive as favourite migration destinations such as Australia, Canada and the USA.” 106 This is because: “To maintain and improve economic growth in the EU, it is essential for Europe to become a magnet for highly skilled immigrants and, at the same time, to attract high caliber students into European Universities … We must work hard to make the EU an attractive destination for such people.”107 Furthermore, according to Commissioner Frattini: “Europe‟s ability to attract highly skilled migrants is a measure of its international strength.” 108 However, to 105 Franco Frattini, The Green Paper on an EU Approach to Managing Economic Migration, SPEECH/05/364, 20.06.2005, p. 3. See also Franco Frattini, Legal Migration and the Follow-up to the Green Paper and on the Fight against Illegal Immigration, SPEECH/05/666, 07.11.2005, p.
This discourse on the “Others” for the EU is continued in the choice of countries the EU‟s statistics on legal migration are compared to: “85% of unskilled labour goes to the EU and only 5% to the USA, whereas 55% of skilled labour goes to the USA and only 5% to the EU. We have to reverse these figures …” 110 Also: “The EU as a whole … seems not to be considered attractive by highly qualified professionals … for example, the EU is the main destination for unskilled to medium-skilled workers from the Maghreb (87% of such immigrants), while 54% of the highly qualified immigrants from these same countries 109 Franco Frattini, Enhanced Mobility, Vigorous Integration Strategy and Zero Tolerance on Illegal Employment: a Dynamic Approach to European Integration Policies, SPEECH/07/526, 13.09.2007, p. 2 (emphasis added) 110 Ibid (emphasis in the original). For similar data see also Jose Manuel Barroso, Integration through Education in 21st Century Europe, SPEECH/07/628, 16.10.2007, p. 5 156 reside in the USA and Canada.”111 Importantly, these also articulate another significant “Other” for the EU: “unskilled labour”. This is the case because the above quotations clearly show that the EU‟s goal is to attract more skilled migrants, so that it changes in a positive for itself way the statistical data. Therefore, this also indicates a perception of the Self in the EU as an entity that is highly productive, at the forefront of international economic competition and engaged in branches of the economy that require highly qualified labour force. As the analysis in Chapter Five shows, this trend in the perceptions of the “Self” and the “Other” is very evident in the field of social policy as well. In distinction to the articulations there, however, in the area of the free movement of people, the Commission discourse clearly shows that the EU has to improve itself further because at present the data does not indicate the state desired by the EU.
According to Commission President Barroso there are a number of reasons why this is the case. Firstly, it is a result of the existence of twenty-seven different and sometimes conflicting procedures for admitting migrants into the EU. Secondly, there is a lack of cross-border dimension in member states‟ policies on legal migration, which makes it difficult for qualified workers to move within the Union. Thirdly, there is a gap in the rights of legal immigrants in comparison to EU citizens. 112 In recent years there have been important policy proposals of the Commission that aim at addressing these problems. The implementation of the envisaged measures should help the Union to successfully meet the challenges identified in Commission discourse, thus contributing to the emergence of the European identity promoted in the above articulations. Therefore, they are supporting the construction of EU‟s external borders through aiding its successful competition with its rival “Others”. Furthermore, these proposals also contribute to the creation of functional borders at the external edges of the Union because they can lead to the establishment of a novel regime for TCNs to work and reside in the territory of the EU.
111 European Commission, Proposal for a Council Directive on the Conditions of Entry and Residence of Third-Country Nationals for the Purposes of Highly Qualified Employment, COM (2007) 637 final, 23.10.2007, p. 3 (emphasis added) 112 Jose Manuel Barroso, Opening Remarks of President Barroso – Legal Immigration, SPEECH/07/650, 23.10.2007, p. 2 157 4.4.3. The construction of functional external borders of the EU – the emerging regime for free movement of TCNs The functional external borders of the EU are progressively being shaped by the discourse of the European Commission. This is a result of a number of undertakings in which the Commission has been actively involved. Examples of these are the regulation of the rights of long-term residents in the member states or the efforts to allow free movement of highly skilled migrants. Below I examine in detail Commission articulations that contribute to the construction of functional borders at the external edges of the EU.
There are several main tools that lead to that. Some Commission documents offer a good summary of the main ways through which this is achieved. According to former European Commissioner responsible for Justice and Home Affairs Antonio Vitorino the approach endorsed by the Commission: “comprises the establishment, on the one hand, of a normative framework laying down the conditions of entry and of stay of immigrants and, on the other hand, of an open coordination mechanism to encourage the progressive convergence of the policies of the Member States as regards the management of migratory flows.”113 As a result of the implementation of such measures, gradually the conditions and procedures for TCNs for entry, stay, family unification, employment and movement between the member states of the EU will be unified. This will mean that increasingly these issues will be regulated at the EU-level, which will decrease to a certain extent the importance and salience of member states‟ national borders at the expense of the border of the EU. Therefore, this will lead to the establishment of an ever more visible and important barrier at the external edges of the Union. Furthermore, to the extent that this border will regulate the possibility of actual entry into the labour markets and the welfare states of the members of the EU, this newly-emerging external dividing line constitutes a functional border between the Union and the rest of the world.
The major areas in which these developments have taken place are the regimes for long-term residents in a EU member state and for the employment of migrants, where since the late 1990s there have been a number of important Commission proposals. The measures 113 Antonio Vitorino, Migratory Flows and the European Labour Market: towards a Community Immigration Policy, SPEECH/01/334, 9.07.2001, p. 5 (emphasis in the original). See also Antonio Vitorino, On the Immigration Policy, SPEECH/01/463, 16.10.2001, p. 2 158 envisaged can be divided into three main groups in terms of the tools employed for constructing the external EU border. The first type encompasses unification through common legal action. Examples are the proposal on sanctions against employers of illegally staying TCNs;114 the proposal envisaging common status in the member states for longterm TCNs;115 and the proposals establishing common conditions of entry and residence for employed, self-employed116 and highly skilled immigrants.117 The first of these proposals at the time of writing is still being processed through the decision-making system of the EU.118 The Council, however, adopted the last one in May 2009 119 as well as the second 120 one, in November 2003. The effects of some of the measures provided for in the latter were noticed soon. For example, according to Boswell, the approximation of legislation in the EU has put some member states under pressure to liberalise their national provisions on issues such as naturalisation or the treatment of long-term residents.121 However, the Commission has not always been able to secure the adoption of its proposals as the withdrawal of the proposal establishing common conditions of entry and residence for employed and self-employed immigrants indicates. The Commission renewed its efforts in this area in 2007 with the proposals on highly skilled migrants, 122 which was successfully adopted. Thus, Commission activities on these matters can be read as an indication that it is persisting in trying to find issues on which an agreement on common action at the EU level can be secured.
114 European Commission, Proposal for a Directive Providing for Sanctions against Employers of Illegally Staying Third-Country Nationals, COM (2007) 249 final, 16.05.2007 115 European Commission, Proposal for a Council Directive Concerning the Status of Third-Country Nationals who are Long-Term Residents, COM (2001) 127 final, 13.03.2001 116 European Commission, Proposal for a Council Directive on the Conditions of Entry and Residence of Third Country Nationals for the Purpose of Paid Employment and Self-Employed Economic Activities, COM (2001) 386 final, 11.07.2001 117 European Commission, Proposal for a Council Directive on the Conditions of Entry and Residence of Third-Country Nationals for the Purposes of Highly Qualified Employment, COM (2007) 637 final, 23.10.2007 118 See http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=195730 for the first proposal and http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=196320 for the third, both accessed on 29.04.2009.