Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Panel 806: Exploring the Impact of Migration on Public Policies
Wednesday, 04/Sep/2019:
9:30am - 11:00am

Session Chair: Helge Jörgens, ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa
Location: Room 12.34

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EU Governance of Health Crises: The Case of Migration

Rachael Dickson

University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom

As the circumstances of Europe’s migration crisis have become prolonged and protracted, migration issues have impacted upon other policy areas. Health policy, including public health, is one such area. A preference for holding migrants in hotspots for processing or in facilities outside the territory of the EU has raised questions regarding who is responsible for providing healthcare and also show migration as a risk to health within the EU. Often charities and non-governmental organisations are left to fill this politico-legal vacuum to provide basic medical supplies and assistance. The EU is aware of these pressures, the Luxembourg Presidency in 2015 acknowledged the ‘impact of the migrant crisis on health can no longer be ignored’. However, how it is addressing these challenges is not clear.

This paper will examine the legal and policy measures that address the issue of health in migration policy. No specific policy exists on this, so research will be undertaken to ascertain the scope of such measures. Subsequently, the paper will outline the challenges of providing quality healthcare to migrants raises for EU governance structures. Actions of individual Member States and NGOs, such as Medecins Sans Frontieres, will be analysed to show the difficultly of garnering solidarity in this area as many Member States already face domestic pressures in health care policy. It will be argued that more coordinated action on health issues affecting migrants is needed. If the EU seeks to establish a fully comprehensive migration policy, more attention must be paid to cross-cutting issues such as health.

Does Immigration Weaken Support for the Welfare State? A Multi-level Analysis of European Regional Data

Marko Grdesic

Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Zagreb

Does immigration weaken public support for the welfare state? As Western Europe becomes more diverse, fears arise about the possible loss of legitimacy of the welfare state, a key achievement of European politics in the twentieth century. Most welfare states in Europe were built during times of ethnic homogeneity and face new challenges with the rise of immigration. The US experience, in particular, has been a source of unease in that respect. If native white populations see the welfare state as primarily benefiting various “out-groups” who are ethnically, racially and religiously different from the majority native “in-group”, the latter group may opt out of the welfare state. This analysis uses the 2016 round of the European Social Survey and matches the regional codes of individual respondents (at the NUTS-2 level) with various contextual variables at the regional level. The national level of immigration may be too far from most people's lived experiences of immigration, i.e. it may be less pertinent to people than the sub-national level. The results of hierarchical models do indeed suggest a consistent negative association between regional levels of immigration and support for the welfare state, measured in various ways. Though this suggests a pessimistic conclusion, i.e. that European welfare states are losing legitimacy in the face of immigration, there are also several causes for optimism. Namely, the effect of regional levels of immigration, though consistent, is quite small. There are other factors which produce substantively larger effects: trust, education and left-wing attitudes in particular. To the extent that these factors can be promoted, any negative effect of immigration can be more than mitigated.

The EU Hotspot Approach in Italy: a Case of Cultivated Spillover through Interagency Relations?

Chiara Loschi, Peter Slominski

University of Vienna, Austria

While the ‘hotspot approach’ introduced by the EU Commission in 2015 and implemented in Greece and Italy is widely discussed in the scholarly literature, we still lack a comprehensive and theoretically informed understanding of it. Addressing this research gap, the paper analyses the emergence and the operation of the ‘hotspots approach’ in Italy. Drawing on the experimental governance framework (Sabel and Zeitlin 2010), we argue that the ‘hotspot approach’ reflects the uncertainty and ambiguity of EU policy-makers of how to respond to the EU migration crisis in an effective and lawful way. However, the hotspot approach allows the EU to signal problem-solving capacity to the general public without requiring the EU to resolve the interest diversity among EU governments about a further supranationalisation of the field. Notwithstanding these preferences, we show that the hotspot approach has created unintended supranational dynamics through the involvement of several EU agencies such as Frontex and EASO. Given the ambiguous and underspecified regulatory environment, EU agencies have increasingly shaped the EU’s hotspot approach through various forms of interagency cooperation. As a result, the growing role of EU agencies has not only nurtured distrust between member states and the EU but has also affected the fundamental rights of refugees.

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