Abolition of the pillars – a new beginning 2010 37
Lisbon treaty 37
Stockholm Programme 38
After the 2011 spring revolutions 38
The EU today is a rising political actor both within Europe and in relation to the European neighbourhood to the East and to South. Through Europeanization and European integration the EU has come to have an increasing influence on every area of policy which formerly belonged to the individual member states, also security policy and the foreign sphere of the union has progressively grown during the last decade. Moreover, the EU has become an increasingly important player on the global scene, and its common external action is constantly enlarging to new domains; immigration is one of these.
Immigration as a phenomenon has always been a part of the European reality, however as the push factors of the southern neighbour states in Africa intensifies due to civil wars, insecurity and wide-stretched famines, the immigration from this area has gained a large portion of the focus in the EU, and has been predicted to become ever more challenging as climate factors induce climate refugees. Immigration as a phenomenon is important for us as researchers due to the observations that can be made with regard to the intensification of focus on the area both nationally, at the EU level and with the partners of EU such as Morocco, Libya and Tunisia. The following common immigration policy in the EU is of course especially interesting because this faces immense difficulty in obtaining their goal of being effective in handling the challenge of especially illegal immigrants. This is due to the complicated nature of this area which overlap into security policy, police cooperation, border management and of course immigration policy. Furthermore as the European integration has completed the borderless union of the Schengen acquis an increasing focus has been put upon the external borders, both to the east and to the south. These developments coupled with increasing national fears towards immigrants threatening the social security all over Europe has really pushed the issue on illegal immigration to the top of both internal and external security debates. Finally the, perhaps biggest challenge of them all is that liberal democracies has a long list of judiciary and human rights they must fulfil on their territory also when dealing with the ‘unwanted’ migrants, thereby making good sense to move the process of asylum claims and immigration process to other states where the same obligations doesn’t count (Mitsilegas 2010) (Lavenex 2006).
Subsequently policies towards obtaining the goal of controlling the inflow of unwanted migrants has sought in different directions, however two types of policies seem to have penetrated general tendencies; a comprehensive approach and a control approach. These tendencies unfold in an environment which has increasingly been focused on the cooperation with third countries, such as the Mediterranean ENP countries, to in a process which has been named an externalisation process of immigration policy (Lavenex 2006) (Morgades 2010) (Pérez 2010) (Guild, Carrera and Balzacq 2010).
Immigration as a policy area therefore intertwines the internal with the external, especially through the status of illegal or irregular migrants as a security threat. This is why policies towards the illegal immigrant is interesting to this thesis as the authors primary interest is in how the EU protect itself, thereby securing its territory in a state-like manner. The EU as an actor in its own right is, if anything a beginner, especially within these areas of competence which comes very close to the core of the nation states finest duty, to protect its citizens. Therefore there is constantly new initiatives being tested, and especially the ENP has been discussed as such a space where immigration could be linked with development (Lavenex 2006).
Especially in the light of recent ‘Arab spring revolutions’ of the northern Africa and the Middle East, the impact of the nexus between security, migration and the development aid has been brought back on the agenda. Therefore the area of migration, and the possible connection with development aid, which has been discussed in the council links the objectives of securing the EU through a ring of well-governed states in the form of the EU neighbourhood to the South. Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya shares their borders with the EU, and is therefore all within the before mentioned third countries which specific immigration policies of the EU are targeted towards. The EU Commission has through the European Security Strategy (ESS) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) placed importance on the EU to extend peace, stability and prosperity within and beyond the borders of the European Union. While simultaneously the EU has to a high degree made their effective immigration policy dependent on the cooperation with these third countries.
The thought in this thesis is that through pursuing the high priority goal of combating illegal immigration, the EUs strategy of combating poverty migration and terrorism by addressing “root causes” such as a repressive government, illegal and unfair conviction, lack of freedoms etc, has been challenged in a political bargain situation where immigration control and energy has been more important today than the long term goals of political reform and the EU will to comment on the lack of this in the middle east.
The EU has placed focus both on ‘here and now’ security measures such as the FRONTEX agency, investing in border infrastructure, funding off-shore detention centres, stepping up border patrols, but also on more long-term security measures towards borders such as, development aid, political reform, legal migration schemes and visa deals. Neighbourhood states are an important part of all these measures and their incentive for cooperation is aid and access to the markets of the EU. In return it seems the EU will through their external focus on immigration policy; seek to secure the cooperation on the immigration policies related to border protection, and hindrance of illegal immigration. This has been visible several places, such as in Libya and Morocco where large detention centres has been much criticised both by Human rights organisations and the UN. Stricter border controls and the detention of ‘would-be’ illegal immigrants heading for the EU has been the outcome, and slowly the borders of the EU are being pushed further south.
It is clear that the EU policy and measures towards illegal immigration has a great significance, infiltrating several areas of policies, other states, the international relations etc. As illegal immigration policy is so highly debated and influential on other EU areas, the area of Illegal immigration is of great importance to the EU and its future as an external and internal security actor and protector.
Therefore this thesis seeks to research further on the subject through the research question of