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Irregular Migration

EU policymaking in the context of irregular migration

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The Nice Treaty: qualified majority rule is postponed

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The main objective of the Treaty of Nice, which entered into force in 2003, was to reform the institutional structure of the EU in order to facilitate the accession of ten new member states, an undertaking which was previously planned to have been accomplished by the Amsterdam Treaty. Nice, however, failed to make significant progress […]

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The Treaty of Amsterdam: first steps towards a Common European Asylum System

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The entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999 reshaped cooperation in justice and home affairs (JHA) thus marking a new phase in EU asylum and migration policymaking. A primary goal of the Treaty was to progressively establish an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ). Consequently, issues related to asylum, migration and external […]

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The Treaty of Maastricht: issues of asylum and migration become ‘matters of common interest’

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The Treaty of Maastricht (1993), which established the EU and introduced a three-pillar system of policymaking, formalised intergovernmental cooperation in the field of asylum and migration between the 12 EC states. The first pillar, also known as the European Community, was the only pillar with a legal personality and covered the vast majority of EU […]

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The evolution of EU asylum and migration policies: Towards supranational cooperation?

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European cooperation in the field of asylum and migration accelerated after the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 which involved a major overhaul of the founding treaties, establishing the EU and formalising intergovernmental cooperation in the area of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) under the third pillar. Subsequently, in 1999, the Treaty […]

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The evolution of EU asylum and migration policies: historical background

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Given that issues related to asylum and migration touch upon state sovereignty, the founding Treaties of the European Communities (EC) did not comprise any rules aimed at the ceding of competences from the national to the supranational level. The main objective of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC), involved […]

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An Introduction to the development of EU cooperation in the field of asylum and migration

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The first efforts to cooperate in matters of asylum and migration at the European level can be mainly attributed to the mass inflow of asylum seekers during the late 1980s and early 1990s, following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. As an initial response to the […]

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EU Integration and Policy (In)coherence towards Irregular Migration

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Irregular migration in the European Union (EU) dominates the current EU political agenda. It is also the top concern of European citizens, according to the latest Standard Eurobarometer (Spring 2019). EU member states, however, are not affected to the same degree, resulting in political friction with regard to how to deal with the challenges of […]

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Italy and Malta are not the villains of Europe’s migration crisis

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Since 2018, Italy and Malta have restricted access to their ports for NGO migrant rescue vessels. While both countries have faced criticism for this policy, it should be noted that since the 1990s, most EU member states have erected barriers along their borders to prevent irregular migration. There is, therefore, a degree of hypocrisy in […]

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The EU’s Pact on Migration and Asylum will do little to ease the pressure on southern member states

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In September 2020, the European Commission published a new ‘Pact on Migration and Asylum’ aimed at addressing the issue of irregular migration in the EU. This article argues that the proposed measures will not help alleviate migration pressure on the EU’s southern member states. On 23 September 2020, the European Commission presented its much-awaited ‘New […]

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Why EU states are converging on restrictive migration policies, despite their different political traditions

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Differing political cultures and migration traditions among EU member states have given rise to a variety of national policy approaches toward irregular migration. While in principle this diversity hinders agreement on common asylum and migration policies, EU member states are now increasingly converging toward more restrictive migration policies. National policy approaches are deeply rooted in […]

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