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Academic Event Panel 1: Migrant and Refugee Crisis: Contesting the EU Normative Power

Academic Event Panel 1: Migrant and Refugee Crisis: Contesting the EU Normative Power

Migrants, the EU and NGOs: A preliminary investigation of recent trends and future perspectives

Daniela Irrera, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Catania, Italy


Migration issues are currently dominating government agendas, public opinion and academic considerations. The need to guarantee the security of EU borders and to ensure legitimate cross-border mobility on one hand, and the urgency to foster illegal migration and human trafficking, on the other, has produced some institutional experiments and political innovations, which have been extensively tested and debated. However, in front of more contemporary events, this ambitious balance has demonstrated its structural weakness. Thus, the security paradigm – which conceives migrants as a threat– seems to prevail over the human dimension – which is more and more associated to the immediate emergency management phase –  particularly in respect of recent developments in the Mediterranean. The analysis of the roles of civil society organisations, particularly NGOs, a combination of traditional assistance to development and social integration and active interventions (i.e. the action of MSF boats in Sicily), offer some interesting insights.

The paper is a preliminary analysis of such trends, and aims at replying to the following questions: which is the relationship between migration policies and the actions of NGOs? Is there an impact and influence they can exert on a Member state and EU level?  If so, is this impact able to produce long-term and established practices beyond the emergency phase? It is based on the results of an expert survey research (conducted by researchers of the University of Catania) on the performance of Mare Nostrum and its capacity to manage the crisis.

It is divided into three parts. Firstly, EU migration policy is analysed within the European aid and humanitarian strategy. Secondly, empirical data are used to assess current developments, agencies and military/civilian tools. Lastly, the specific role played by NGOs and the impact on the EU migration policies is explored and used to assess current trends and raise future perspectives.



EU Member States as the prominent actors in the management of the European refugee crisis in the Western Balkans and its effect on EU enlargement process for the region

Julia Himmrich, PhD Candidate in International Relations London School of Ecomonics (LSE); Research Associate, Dahrendorf Forum


The Western Balkan migration route into the European Union has been central to therefugee ‘crisis’. In this paper I will discuss the policy responses from EU member statesand countries in the Western Balkans in relation to this migration route. Here I will focuson specifically migration and asylum policies, changes in ‘safe country or origins’categorization, and security collaboration.Many of the policy responses have been coordinated by individual EU member statesand EU accession countries in the Western Balkans. I will argue that through this processthey have affected the overall EU enlargement process for the region.To highlight this, the paper will firstly look at recent policies attempting to curb or managemigration flows through the Western Balkans. Particular focus will be given to the EUMembers Greece and Germany and the Western Balkan EU accession countries Serbiaand FYROM.Secondly, the paper will focus on the case study of the relationship of Germany andSerbia to highlight the dynamics of securitization, conditionality and EU enlargement thathave emerged in relation to migration over the last few years. This case study will highlightthe political debates behind the policies and the emerging importance of ‘burden sharing’which influenced negotiations on EU enlargement.This paper will therefore contribute to the following debates: The specific influence ofmember states on wider EU migration and asylum policy, the tension of securitization ofasylum versus the protection of individuals, the role of the Western Balkans as region oforigin, transit and settlement of refugees, and the effect of these on the EU enlargementprocess for the Western Balkans.



Fortress Europe and Gated communities: How European Union securitize migration – Implications on European City

Stevan Tatalović,Research Associate, Human Security Research Center (HSRC)


The so-called refugee crisis has reshaped demographic structure of societies and made changes to epistemological rapture causing paradigm shift in the Study of Movement and Security Studies. This paper deals with the issue of securitization that new, agile, dynamic way of life, characterized by mobility, as well as the security response to the so-called crisis. Consequences of such response are now present on a global level. Since the mass migration to Europe began after the Arab Spring in 2011, it seems that refugees are occupying European cities. This superdiversity led to securitization as the official policy of the European countries where the need for stability and security comes from the need for stable city, a fortress city. In what way do mass migration affect a European city? Is the city, regarded as metamorphic entity, with all its properties, able to adapt to new citizens? Does the city have an identity that is mixed with the identities of (temporary) inhabitants and are the cultural differences being ignored in case of tolerance and intolerance from local population? Does Mixophobia lead to closing the gates of communities? These are the questions which arise in this paper.

Key words: securitization, European Union, urban security, refugee crisis, mixophobia, superdiversity



Institutional confusion: The role of international organisations in EU external funding instruments on migration, borders and asylum

Leonhard den Hertog, Researcher, Justice and Home Affairs Section, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)



The EU is one of the major funders of migration, borders and asylum projects across the world. Nonetheless, it hardly has any capacity to implement these projects. Therefore, they are usually implemented by international and non-governmental organisations. They are contracted by the EU to manage migration dialogue processes with third countries, to provide shelter to refugees, or to provide trainings to border guards on migration and border ‘management’. There is a relationship of interdependence between the European Commission and these organisations, with the former offering funding and the latter offering implementation capacity. This paper explores this crucial relationship in the EU’s global agenda on migration ‘management’ – or control – in more detail. It poses the question of how these organisations are involved in the EU funds beyond implementation. Although these organisations are framed in the technocratic terms of ‘implementers’ of EU funded actions, their role appears to be much more extensive. These organisations produce ‘knowledge’ about migration and the ways to ‘manage’ it, feeding into the drafting and programming processes of EU funds. Moreover, they regularly play salient roles in the migration policies of third countries, sometimes followed by the mobilisation of EU funding. This paper employs an organisation theory approach to explain this central role of international and non-governmental organisations in EU external funding instruments on migration, borders and asylum. Taking from the work of Brunsson, this article argues that for the optimisation of external legitimacy, these organisations carefully navigate between the ‘company’ and ‘political’ organisational types. Three organisations are looked at in the context of this paper: the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Labour Office (ILO), and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).



Ralph Wilde


Nemanja Džuverović