An Incompetent Actor? Assessing EU External Migration Policy

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Series Details Vol.20, Issue 4, December 2015, p471–493
Publication Date December 2015
ISSN 1384-6299
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2015 has seen thousands of migrants undertake desperate and risky journeys across the Mediterranean in order to try to reach Europe. Cooperation with non-EU countries has been emphasized in policy documents as an essential tool in managing these migration flows. However, this presupposes that the EU is able to act deliberately and purposively in international migration governance. Building on the literature on EU external relations, this article assesses the actorness of the EU in international migration governance in terms of authority, existence of policy instruments, policy determinacy, coordination mechanisms, rules of participation in international institutions, recognition by third countries, autonomy of the EU institutions, and cohesion. It concludes that legal competence is central to the ability of the EU to play a role in international migration governance.

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