Panel 212: The Future of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice in Times of Populism and Political Uncertainty I
The Future of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice in Times of Populism and Political Uncertainty I
Recent events such as Brexit, the Schengen governance crisis, the rise in the number of asylum-seekers, or the increase in terrorist attacks on European soil have brought the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice to the forefront of electoral and budgetary concerns. At the same time, we have seen growing concerns about how political contestation across and within member states might affect the further evolution of this policy area, as the rise in populism has reinforced long-existing tensions between nationalisation and Europeanisation. On this basis, this special issue proposes to look into the impact of populism and political uncertainty on the content and structure of internal security policies, as well as on the evolution of AFSJ institutions and actors. More specifically, it asks what it means to build an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice in a framework of crisis and uncertainty, and how it affects the process of integration at the European Union level. In this special issue, we propose to explain how populism and political uncertainty within and beyond Europe have contributed to shaping the definition of this ‘core state power’ (i.e. a power linked to the key functions of states, notably the control of the territory and the legitimate use of force) at the European level both in substantive (policy content) and procedural terms (state of integration). This second panel concentrates on how the ‘migration crisis’ has had an impact on policy-making, polarising party politics and entrenching national positions both on the national and EU level.
Presentations of the Symposium
Speaking on Europe’s behalf: EU discourses of representation during the refugee crisis
The European refugee crisis of 2015-16 polarized the European Union (EU) on an unprecedented scale. The crisis opened a window of opportunity for populist radical right parties and hence increased the politicization of asylum policy in many Member States. This paper aims to explain the failure of EU institutions to find consensus during the refugee crisis based on the discursive polarization of the main governmental and institutional actors involved in the EU decision-making process. Drawing on Michael Saward’s representative claims framework, the paper illustrates a flurry of competing claims of representation made on behalf of ‘Europe’ by multiple actors claiming to represent European/national citizens or the EU as a whole. Two major camps are identified among Member States and EU supranational institutions, both defending EU policy (in-)action during the crisis in the name of a constituency whose interests or values they claimed to embody. The analysis reflects the extent of policy polarization during the refugee crisis as well as the level of intra-institutional heterogeneity present in EU intergovernmental bodies like the European Council and the Council. This polarization is essential for understanding and anticipating future politicization in EU immigration and asylum policy.
Beyond Suasion: Overcoming the Populist Deadlock in the Dublin IV Regulation
The distribution of asylum-seekers within the EU has been the most contested issue during the 2015 asylum crisis. Although the EU had adopted a relocation decision to support border countries that received exceptionally high numbers of migrants, this decision suffered from poor implementation, especially among the Central Eastern European Member States. Scholars (Biermann et al. 2018; Zaun 2018) have explained this state of affairs through the Suasion Game in Game Theory. According to this theory, cooperation is unlikely as countries which currently receive few asylum applications have no incentives to support top recipient countries by taking asylum-seekers in those countries and sharing the responsibility. This paper looks at recent decision-making on the Dublin IV Regulation, trying to understand the dynamics behind the failure to find collective solutions. The Suasion Game would expect policy deadlock on the Dublin IV Regulation to be overcome through side payments and package deals to compensate countries that are unwilling to take on additional asylum-seekers. However, these strategies seem to have been unsuccessful, especially in European Council negotiations. Therefore, in this paper we examine to what extent politicisation has made it impossible to find a solution to the Suasion Game and whether failure to do so has led to a watering down of the responsibility-sharing mechanism in Dublin IV.
The Limits of EU Normative Aspirations - EU Immigration Policy and Public Discourse in Germany and the UK
This paper analyses the discursive polarisation on immigration in the UK and Germany. A comprehensive immigration policy based on notions of cosmopolitan solidarity has long been a key normative objective for the EU. However, such a top-down approach needs to be complemented with a fundamental change in domestic public discourse. This has not happened and, as a result, immigration and EU migration governance have become a highly politicised issues in public debate, facilitating the rise of Eurosceptic and right-wing populism across Europe. Eurosceptics and right-wing populists are rejecting cosmopolitan notions of solidarity, advocating more narrowly defined ‘nativist’ conceptualisations instead. The success of Eurosceptic and right-wing populists is, therefore, not only demonstrating the limitations between the normative aspirations of the EU and political acceptance of supranational norms by domestic audiences but also threatening to dissolve the very glue that is holding the European project together. The paper rests on two case studies – the UK and Germany. Both countries have seen a rise in Euroscepticism and in right-wing populism in recent years. In the UK, this resulted in the 2016 referendum which set the country on a course of departure from the EU. In Germany, the AfD, founded in 2013 as a Eurosceptic party, has made significant gains in local, regional, national and European elections. The empirical spine of the paper rests on a discourse analysis of German and British print media outlets, uncovering how immigration related issues are being framed in domestic debates.
Wir schaffen das…. ? Right Wing Populism and the Relocation of Solidarity
When the polls closed in Bavaria on October 14, 2018, it was assumed that the main parties, the CSU and the SPD, would take a beating. And so they did. The rise of the populist AfD since its founding in 2013 and its becoming the third largest party in Germany and the main opposition after the 2017 federal elections coincides with the decline in solidarity within the European Union (EU) as the region faced a magnitude of refugee arrivals not seen since WWII. Right-wing nationalist and populist and parties like the AfD not only reflect and rally xenophobic elements in society, but also typically force to the right more mainstream parties fearful of losing votes. Chancellor Merkel’s inability to inspire EU-wide solidarity within and across member states points to significant challenges for a collective AFSJ response in the EU.
Nativist approaches advocated by far right parties seek to relocate solidarity from a cosmopolitan commitment to sharing risk and responsibility with others, to which the EU is rhetorically committed, to an exclusive solidarity with natives or in-groups. The populist/nativist rhetoric rejects external/cosmopolitan solidarity in favor of protecting the state and its own citizens from potential financial responsibility and influx of “others.” This paper explores these developments in Germany, focusing on the leadership role it played in two key European policy responses to the “refugee crisis:” the European temporary relocation scheme and the deal reached with Turkey to halt arrivals in Greece. While the first was an anemic display of intra-EU solidarity, the second successfully externalized EU risks. Neither was a successful demonstration of cosmopolitan solidarity and both failures were in part fueled by the broader politics of right wing populism, relocating solidarity with the in-group.