«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»
“nationals of the new Member States who are legally working with a contract of 12 months or over in a current Member State at the time of accession of their country to the EU will benefit from the right to free access to the labour market of that Member State.”168 During 166 Jose Manuel Barroso, Opening Remarks of President Barroso – Legal Immigration, SPEECH/07/650, 23.10.2007, p. 2 167 European Commission, Completing the Internal Market, COM (85) 310 final, 14.06.1985, p. 27 (emphasis added) 168 European Commission, Free Movement of Workers – Achieving the Full Benefits and Potential, COM (2002) 694 final, 11.12.2002, p. 5 (emphasis added) 174 my examination of Commission discourse on free movement of people I did not come across any Commission articulation trying to promote a more inclusive right for at least these nationals of the “new” member states that are already working in an “old” member state. If the Commission is keen on encouraging freer movement for workers from the “new” member states, one could expect articulations promoting the idea of allowing free movement to the whole EU for these workers. In other words, the Commission should have supported the position of giving already existing migrants from acceding states access not only to the labour market of their current member states of residence but also to the entire EU.
Thus, there are a number of ways in which Commission discourse on the issue of free movement of people contributes to the actual reconstruction of existing internal EU borders. These are a result of two main articulations that contradict the de-bordering trend.
Firstly, internal borders are reconstructed by establishing different categories of people that still face obstacles when they want to relocate within the Union. Secondly, the continuing references to “member states” make it impossible to perceive the area as a whole and instead reinforce previously existing divisions. Furthermore, given the assumed efforts to establish a common zone for free movement of people, it is surprising that at times the Commission has been silent on issues that can contribute to internal border transcendence.
These are best exemplified by the current provisions for highly qualified TCNs and for already residing workers from the “new” member states to move within the EU for work purposes.
4.6. Summary All in all, Commission proposals such as the mobility partnerships, the status of long-term TCN residents, the efforts towards overcoming existing practical difficulties for the free movement of people show that the Commission is willing and trying to further the creation of a common space for the movement of people in the EU. Furthermore, this is achieved by utilising the neo-functionalist logic of gradually expanding the fields for common action primarily through cultivated spillover. This Commission discourse has had clear advancements on improving the freedom of movement of people, which implies a decreased significance of internal borders. Nevertheless, it still configures borders ambiguously. As the chapter has shown, there is strong evidence that Commission discourse contributes not only to de-bordering but also to the reconstruction of borders.
This is apparent in the trends in Commission articulations towards the construction of the EU‟s external border and the reconstruction of internal Union borders. The detailed analysis has shown that these result in the construction/ reconstruction of both, identity and functional borders. The external borders are created through the articulation of various legal, administrative, and practical measures in Commission documents as well as through advancing particular understandings of “EU” and “Europe”. Internal borders are recreated in two main ways. Firstly, in cases when current proposals cannot go far enough in the provisions for establishing a common European labour market. As the last section has shown, currently Commission articulations show that it is unable or unwilling to overcome the position of member states on a number of issues related to free movement of people.
This is very similar to the reconstruction of internal borders in the field of border controls.
Secondly, internal borders are also reconstructed when the Commission has been much more pro-active and has advanced more radical provisions for the free movement of TCNs.
Nevertheless, as I argued this has been at the expense of establishing new dividing lines between some categories of people. This still makes the Commission discourse ambiguous and indicates the limits to de-bordering for supranational institutions. In the field of the reconstruction of internal EU borders, this is a result primarily of the intricacies of decision-making and the on-going struggles between the various institutions involved in the process of passing the acquis, which forces the Commission to act tactically and to consider 176 carefully how its proposals will be accepted by the other EU bodies. This limits in important ways the ability of the Commission to have its preferred readings accepted as EU law. As far as the external Union border is concerned, Commission discourse points to the need to create a common identity, which invariably depends on the articulation of an “Other”. This, in turn, leads to the establishment of a border. The articulation of identity borders is even more pronounced in Commission discourse on social policy, which I examine in the next chapter.
SOCIAL POLICY – CONFIGURATION OF IDENTITY BORDERS
5.1. Introduction In the previous chapter I examined the configuration of borders in the Commission discourse on free movement of people. I argued that although overall the Commission promotes decreased salience of borders in the EU for both EU citizens and TCNs, its articulations still configure borders ambiguously because at the same time they contribute to the emergence of external boundaries and to the reconstruction of some important divisions in the EU. This trend of ambiguous border configurations in the Commission discourse is even more pronounced in the field of social policy, which I examine in detail in this chapter. In this issue area, in distinction to the previously examined policy areas, Commission articulations configure predominantly identity borders. Furthermore, they are actively engaged in promoting a specific vision of the organisation of social matters in the Union, which is an important contributor to the reconstruction of the internal EU borders in this field.
I consider social policy issues paramount for configuration of borders, which is evident from the role these matters have played during the creation of welfare nation-states in Europe. Despite that, as the Literature Review section in Chapter Two has shown, this is not an area that has been extensively studied in relation to the construction of EU borders. 1 Therefore, one of the contributions of this chapter is to rectify this situation by pointing out the important repercussion that articulations on social policy have on EU borders. Given the topic of this thesis the focus is on the configurations in the discourse of the European Commission. In order to do this, I have divided the chapter into four main parts. The first 1 An important exception in this trend is Maurizio Ferrera, The Boundaries of Welfare – European Integration and the New Spatial Politics of Social Protection (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). This study provides a comprehensive investigation into the problematic relationship between the opening pressures associated with European integration and the closure foundations of the nation-based welfare state.
178 one provides a brief overview of the development of the Commission discourse on social policy, focusing specifically on how the developments under the social dimension made it feasible to assert the European Model of Society (EMoS) and European Social Model (ESM). These are the two most important bordering articulations in the Commission discourse in the area of social policy. Building on this, in the second part I elaborate on the integrative effects these articulations imply, which contribute to the emergence of a common space in the EU. In the third and the fourth sections, however, I present the critical reading of these border configurations. The former looks into the construction of the EU‟s external borders, while the latter – at the reconstruction of internal borders in the Union through this Commission discourse.
5.2. Overview of Commission Discourse on Social Policy The founding Treaties of the EC and the EU unequivocally state that one of the main aims of European integration is to improve the living and working conditions in the member states and to ensure social (as well as economic) progress in these countries. 2 Therefore, from the outset the integration process has had not only economic but also social aspects.3 This is what enables George to argue that: “There has always been a social dimension to the European Community.” 4 This dimension received a renewed importance after the signing of the SEA because the achievement of a frontier-free area in the member states would not be complete without measures in the social field. 5 Such assertions clearly indicate that social policy, as I argued in Chapter Two, displays the characteristics of functional spillover. This has meant that: “the economic objectives of the EC pushed it in 2 See the Preambles of the Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community, p. 11 and the Treaty on European Union 3 However, as Scharpf has argued, the design of the European integration process has led to an asymmetrical relationship between economic and social issues, in which the latter have remained primarily a national prerogative that had to increasingly comply with the Europeanised requirements of the former. See Fritz Scharpf, „The European Social Model: Coping with the Challenges of Diversity‟, Journal of Common Market Studies, 40: 4 (2002), pp. 645-670 4 Stephen George, Politics and Policy in the European Community (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 203 5 For such a claim see for example European Commission, Programme of the Commission for 1991, DOC/91/1, 23.01.1991, p. 3; point 13 179 the direction of also taking over some of the responsibilities for social policy from the member states.”6 This was due to the worry that in the light of increased economic integration there was a need for matching developments in the social area because otherwise, there could be adversary economic and social effects7 (such as social dumping8 or distorted competition), thus impeding the achievement of the integration objectives stated in the founding Treaty and its amendments. This functional spillover is even more plausible as an explanation of the developments in the field of social policy given the general reluctance of member states to delegate responsibilities in this area to the supranational level. As Cram points out, such delegation has only happened if it was directly related to the functioning of the internal market.9 Therefore, it is hardly surprising that at the time of and after the adoption of the SEA, the Commission was very active in promoting its vision of the social dimension. 10 The new Commission President Jacques Delors launched in the second half of the 1980s an ambitious initiative aimed at establishing the political and institutional space for the actions in the social field. 11 The achievement of its aims was further facilitated by the increased powers of the Commission in the social policy field under the SEA.12 6 Stephen George, Politics and Policy in the European Community (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 216 7 For statements to that effect in European Commission documents see for example Padraig Flynn, The Development of European Level Social Dialogue, SPEECH/96/200, 23.07.1996, p.3; Padraig Flynn, The Social Chapter – Cost or Benefit?, SPEECH/96/223, 26.09.1996, p. 2; Padraig Flynn, European Social Policy, SPEECH/98/140, 25.06.1998, p. 3; Padraig Flynn, Anti-Discrimination – the Way Forward, SPEECH/98/282, 04.12.1998, p. 4 8 The term “social dumping” refers to a situation in which policies or practices in one country are lowered as a result of alterations of social practices or institutions in another country. This definition is from Jens Albert, Guy Standing, „Social Dumping, Catch-up, or Convergence? Europe in a Comparative Global Context‟, Journal of European Social Policy, 10: 2 (2000), pp. 99-119, p. 99 9 Laura Cram, „Calling the Tune without Paying the Piper? Social Policy Regulation: the Role of the European Commission in the European Community Social Policy‟, Policy and Politics, 21: 2 (1993), pp. 135p. 136 10 See for example, Linda Hantrais, Social Policy in the European Union (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995), esp. pp. 6-15; Laura Cram, „Calling the Tune without Paying the Piper? Social Policy Regulation: the Role of the European Commission in the European Community Social Policy‟, Policy and Politics, 21: 2 (1993), pp.