Desktop version

Home arrow Sociology arrow Integration Processes and Policies in Europe

Explicit Target Groups and Implicit Hierarchies in the Policy Chain

Problematizing the mobility of persons is inherent to the idea of the nation state that presupposes unity of territory, state, and citizens (Geiger 2013, 17). European nation states and EU institutions have built systems to regulate who can enter their respective territories and under what conditions. Increasingly, not only immigration but also the integration of migrants is a policy issue. This section discusses the legal categories used to define mobile persons and the effect of these categories in directing a migrant's route in the policy chain (Fig. 5.1). The starting point is a categorization by the EU based on a person's country of origin. Is the person in question a citizen of an EU member state or a TCN. This dichotomy leads to divergent paths determining whether or not migrants do eventually become the subject of integration policy and whether they will gain access to social, political, and economic rights.

Fig. 5.1 Migrants' routes in the categorical policy chain (Source: Authors)

Route 1: EU Citizens

The first step in the policy chain establishes whether a migrant is a member-state national or a TCN (Rea et al. 2011, 10). The legal term “TCN” is based on nationality and residence status, not on ethnic origin or culture (Groenendijk 2011, 34). Introduction of the right to free movement of EU citizens (based on the 1985 Schengen Agreement and 1990 Schengen Convention) and the harmonization of migration law and policy (via the Amsterdam Treaty, which entered into force in 1999) had substantial impact on the distinction between migrants who are considered in need of integration and those who are not. Yet, although these agreements reduced the legal distance between national citizens and member-state nationals (ibid.), this does not mean that all Europeans gained equal status.

EU policies start from the assumption that EU citizens, when moving to another member state as Europeans, are integrated by default. Consequently, integration policies and facilities have been designed and implemented for TCNs only. Nonetheless, policy debates, and in some cases policies, at the national level and even more so at the local level do distinguish between EU citizens. For instance, migrant workers from relatively new EU members, such as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, are to be excluded from integration policies according to EU definitions, but their lack of “integration” has nonetheless been criticized in public and political fora. Migrants from the newer EU member states often face highly nationalized demands for integration, including language competence requirements and culturalized and moralized citizenship tests (Favell 2013, 5). Prior to Britain's lifting of restrictions on migrants from Bulgaria and Romania in January 2014, UK politicians—in direct opposition to the EU's integration definition—proposed a cap on social services for European migrants.

In fact, tensions may result from differences in policy aims between the EU and its member states. A striking example is the treatment of the Roma from Bulgaria and Romania in France. Whereas EU institutions have, in the context of enlargement policy, continuously argued for measures to promote the social inclusion of the Roma (Parker 2012, 476), this was disregarded by the French authorities. Following riots and clashes between Roma and the French police in July 2010, President Sarkozy ordered half of the country's 539 Roma camps to be cleared to restore 'the republican order' (ibid., 478). Shortly after, the French government expelled more than 1,000 camp inhabitants, sending them back to their countries of origin. These actions led to a direct confrontation with the European Commission, which interpreted the French actions as an existential threat to the European peace project. The EU warned France that it would pursue infringement procedures. The Commission's proceedings against France hinged on the fact that France had not fully transposed aspects of the 2004 Directive on free movement into its national legislation. This had enabled the country to avoid deploying various safeguards specified within this Directive in order to protect EU citizens targeted for removal either on the basis of their being a 'threat to public order or security' or on the basis of their 'insufficient [economic] means' (ibid., 479–480).

This example illustrates the clear hierarchy between EU citizens from the West and those from Eastern Europe. Favell (2013) argues that next to familiar targets, such as Muslims and undocumented Africans, currently Eastern Europeans (e.g., Poles and Romanians) and Southern Europeans (Greek, Portuguese, and potentially highly qualified Spaniards and Italians) are included in what he calls the antiimmigration tide. Free movement and equal treatment may be guaranteed in legal and political terms, but it is not a 'sociological reality' (ibid., 4). Indeed, 'not all citizens are equal and some passports are better than others'. Hierarchies between citizens lead to a 'new system of global economic stratification' (Castles 2004, 223).

Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >

Related topics