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«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»

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Evidence for sufficient funding in relation to the stay may also be required. These visas are not issued at the border. The cost for the visa is the same (unless the member state waves the fees) as the fee charged for issuing a short-term multiple-entry one. There may be specific facilitations at the border crossing points for the border residents in possession of the “L” visa.67 64 European Commission, On the Development of a Common Policy on Illegal Immigration, Smuggling and Trafficking of Human Beings, External Borders and the Return of Illegal Residents, COM (2003) 323 final, 3.06.2003 65 http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=183230#367217, accessed on 13.05.2009 66 See respectively EU/ Tunisia Action Plan http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/action_plans/tunisia_enp_ap_final_en.pdf, p. 4; EU/ Ukraine Action Plan http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/action_plans/ukraine_enp_ap_final_en.pdf, p. 4, both accessed on 28.08.2006 67 All these provisions are from European Commission, Proposal Laying Down Rules on Local Traffic at the External Land Borders of the Member States and Amending the Schengen Convention and the Common Consular Instructions, COM (2005) 56 final, 23.02.2005 252 Overall, this proposal should manage to facilitate the contacts between the border areas. Furthermore, introducing this policy is a novel move by the EU, which can potentially problematise the traditional border practices at the limits of state territory. It does create a precedent in which specific categories of people from the EU‟s neighbourhood can travel to the Union under conditions different from those that have previously been applied. However, despite its novelty this undertaking is limited in its ability to solve the problem all together. There are several major reasons for that. Firstly, the zone defined as “border area” under this proposal encompasses a relatively narrow territory of 30 kilometers. It is quite likely that people with links with the new EU member states covered by the provisions of the proposal will live beyond this zone. Furthermore, although the visa can be issued for up to five years, the procedure for obtaining it (the required documents), as well as the necessary actions (in the majority of the cases it is most likely the local residents will need to undertake a fairly long journey to the closest consular or diplomatic mission of the EU member state, since no visas are issued at the border) are not doing enough to facilitate the process for the local residents. All of these problems stem from the fact that we live in a world of territorial states, a condition that even the EU cannot escape. Therefore, although the “local border traffic” proposal can be taken to serve as an example of the EU‟s policies, which abide by the obligations the Union has undertaken in its relations with third countries this is done with the view primarily of protecting its own interests. This means that the proposal does not provide for very generous concessions from the EU. The result of this, however, with the ENP aims in mind, is most likely to be a perception of the border as one not allowing for easy crossing by people or other kinds of flows, such as trade for example. In turn, this will make the exchanges harder and hence, will harden the achievement of the Neighbourhood policy‟s objectives.

Hence, as we have seen, instead of working towards preventing the emergence of new dividing lines on the continent, as is the declared aim in the official documents of the European Neighbourhood Policy, aspects of the Commission discourse in fact effectively contribute to the construction and reconstruction of European and EU borders. Decisions over which countries will be included in each of the existing frameworks for the conduct of the EU‟s relations with third countries and the rhetoric of Commission officials regarding 253 each of these different frameworks, are actively establishing a particular mindset or thinking of these areas. This however, constructs new borders. I also showed that the discourse of Commission officials and the content of the documents the Commission signs with its ENP partners are related and influence the perception of what and where Europe is.

Last, but not least, all of these articulations indirectly suggest that the “Other” for the EU is exactly the countries encompassed under the ENP. All of these points clearly demonstrate that the Commission discourse on the Neighbourhood policy relies on, utilises and further reinforces assumptions and practices that contribute to the emergence of salient borders. As a result of all this, there is a full set of both material and mental tools working towards the establishment of European and EU territorial and identity borders. These are further reinforced by the concrete policies undertaken as the examples on movement of people have shown.

6.6. Summary Thus, the analysis of the Commission discourse on the ENP shows that despite the inclusionary aims and rhetoric on this issue, there is an underlying dynamic that precludes the achievement of the goal of greater integration between the EU and its Neighbourhood.

Therefore, the Commission ENP discourse contributes to the construction of highly visible EU external borders and to the reconstruction of divisions in Europe. These are due to the advancement of a perception that because the Neighbourhood poses dangers to the EU it is in fact the “Other”, which in turn contributes to the establishment of identity borders. This trend is further reinforced by articulations, some of which have led to the undertaking of specific policy steps that establish visible obstacles to the free flow of goods or people, thus erecting a territorial border at the edges of the EU.

The finding that the Commission ENP discourse, contrary to the declared aims, contributes to the construction of borders is further suggested by the lack of articulations that can be interpreted as contributing towards elevating these underlying trends that construct and reconstruct borders. Instead, as the analysis in the chapter shows, overall, there seems to be a general concurrence in the thinking of the Commission and other major 254 EU institutions, such as the Council. Such a situation, however, clearly illustrates the claim in Chapter Two that as far as external EU borders are concerned, supranational institutions, such as the Commission, are predisposed to construct and reconstruct external borders. This is also in tune with the findings in the Chapter on Border Controls, which also indicated that the Commission was not advancing radically different positions on the issue of the EU‟s external borders in comparison to the Council or the member states. However, if in Chapter Three this could be explained with a disadvantage in the position of the Commission within the decision-making process of the EU, the ENP, given its declared goals, presents a much more promising case for promoting lesser visibility of borders.

Therefore, the ENP is a crucial case when it comes to demonstrating the simultaneity of the processes of de-bordering, rebordering and border construction under integration.

Furthermore, the analysis of this chapter showed a different set of empirical examples of the Commission contribution to the emergence of EU‟s external borders, such as the articulation of particular “Other” or the implementation of policies that lead to the construction of salient borders.

–  –  –

In this study, I set out to critically examine the integration-borders nexus by analysing the way borders are configured in the discourse of the European Commission.

The main thrust of this project has been to demonstrate that although on the surface it is transcendence of borders that Commission documents emphasise, this is not the only configuration implied by these documents. Parallel with thee trend to de-bordering, new borders are constructed and old ones reconstructed by the Commission articulations. In doing this, I have contributed to the academic debates examining the ambiguous results on borders by the process of European integration by providing a detailed empirical examination of the simultaneous processes of border reconfigurations. Such a formulation indicates an understanding of borders as social constructs that emerge out of the numerous interactions that are taking place between different agents in a variety of locales. As a consequence, I have studied borders by examining discourses on borders. As I explained in Chapter Two, the term discourse has a wide meaning and refers to structured systems of signs that create knowledge about the world. I regard language as having a primary position because ultimately it is by communicating through language that the meaning of other signs becomes intelligible. Therefore, in order to examine how the European Commission discourses configure borders, I focused on interrogating the ways in which inclusion/ exclusion issues are settled. Building on that, I analysed whether these configurations lead only to border transcendence or have more ambiguous consequences.

Given the wide variety of actors that contribute to the transformation of borders in the EU, I had to delimit the focus of the research. I concentrated on examining the ways in which the discourse of the European Commission configures borders. The main reason for choosing the Commission is its position within the institutional structure of the EU. As a supranational institution, it has a vested interest to aim to promote more integration, thus 256 ensuring the perseverance of the conditions that lead to border transformations. This also has the important advantage of allowing examination of the contribution to the configuration of borders of a unique type of international organisation, one that can under certain conditions and in particular circumstances impose legally binding decisions to the EU member states. Thus, the present study was able to provide rich empirical data on the specific ways in which the Commission has contributed to the construction and reconstruction of EU borders. However, a focus on the Commission is worthwhile only if it is able to exercise independent influence over the process of integration. I have argued, in tune with the positions of Neo-functionalists that integration is best conceived of as a process. Therefore, it is a continuous, every day occurrence, in which the Commission is ideally placed to steer the developments. It can do this in policy areas in all the three pillars of the EU, although its effectiveness and the means it can use vary from issue area to issue area. In the policies under the first pillar, the major leverage of the Commission comes from it being the sole legislation initiator. This allows it to exercise considerable control not only over the exact wording of the policy proposals but also over issues such as the timing of a proposal or the choice of legal basis. For second and third pillar policies, the Commission is the main implementer, which means that it can significantly influence the way EU legislation is interpreted, thus impacting on its day-to-day implementation.

Although the above clearly shows that I share some of the core assumptions and arguments of Neo-functionalism, my understanding of borders as social constructions has meant that I do not conceive of Commission discourse as having a single author. Instead, due to the complex interactions that occur between the various actors involved in the process of renegotiating inclusion/ exclusion issues in the EU, the Commission documents also reflect and reproduce the preferences and positions of other actors and institutions.

This process of mutual influence between the parties involved means that in practice there are multiple authors behind the Commission discourse. Therefore, in the Commission documents, other influences besides the position of the Commission itself are present.

Thus, the understanding of the Commission as an actor means that its officials, given their own interests can be expected to follow a particular line, which regarding the renegotiation of inclusion/ exclusion issues can be expected to be relatively cohesive. However, this does 257 not mean that the results of Commission undertakings expressed in its discourse will always be the ones its officials have articulated, which is a result of the Commission interactions with other parties involved in the renegotiations.

In the empirical part of the study I examined how the discourse of the Commission configures European and EU borders in a number of policy areas (ENP, social policy, free movement of people and border controls) in the period from the adoption of the SEA to the time of writing. I chose the second half of the 1980s as the starting point of the investigation because it was a time when the integration project in the EU received a major boost with the decision to work towards the creation of the internal market, defined as “an area without internal frontiers”. Again, as in the case of the decision to focus the study on the Commission, such an undertaking provides very favourable conditions for examining the integration-borders nexus because it provides a fertile ground for border transformations. This ensures that there is rich empirical material on which to base the investigation. My major finding is that in each of the policy areas under investigation, the discourse of the Commission simultaneously with the process of border transcendence, contributes to the construction and reconstruction of borders. Thus, the ambiguous border constructions can be regarded as an underlying common trend in the configuration of borders by Commission discourse. In each of the policy areas I studied, Commission discourse at first glance leads to the establishment of a common space in the EU. In turn, this implies a decreased importance of internal borders. However, a critical examination of Commission discourse reveals ambiguous dynamics of which the present study provides rich empirical details.

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