Migration Statecraft : The European Migration and Development Regime

Abstract: For decades the European Union has cooperated with partner countries on the nexus between migration and development. The EU has thereby attempted to merge parts of migration policy and development policy into one framework. The logical inconsistency here appears to be that one policy in the nexus seeks to reduce migration while the other aims to promote it. This approach also constitutes a puzzle for opposing theories around the role of power versus ideas. In order to explain and understand this cooperation, the thesis explores its emergence and evolution during 1985-2020. The starting point is the assumption that the EU is influenced by domestic and global normative structures. Such normative structures may provide reasons for actor-centred statecraft. Diverging patterns of cooperation with partner countries emanate from it.The thesis applies the concept of an international regime to analyse whether cooperation rests on two incompatible core norms. Through a congruence analysis of alternative theoretical approaches, three modes of statecraft are identified. Power statecraft based on classical realism focuses on the national interest of upholding sovereignty and other domestic norms in migration control policy. These motivate the EU to use strategic action. It does so by putting pressure on third countries to reduce unwanted migration through development in accordance with a root causes norm. Ideational statecraft grounded in mainstream constructivism reveals that the EU has been socialised by the global idea that migration can bring more development through a development agent norm. Knowledge is a prominent factor in this regard. Leveraged (migration) statecraft inspired by realist constructivism is pursued so that both power and ideas are used in an amalgamated way by the EU.These findings are arrived at through a systematic analysis of narratives in Commission Communications, and by scrutinising a range of EU external dialogue processes and funding. There is a gap between narratives and practices. The regime norms are regularly subject to contestation. The EU is a norm-maker regarding migration policy and a norm-taker in development policy. It is engaged in strategic social construction through the externalisation of migration control, the mainstreaming of migration in development policy, and the conditionality of practices. The substantial empirical material in the thesis confirms the usefulness of its novel theoretical model for studying the relation between statecraft and normative structures in the quest for order and wealth. It shows how realist constructivism is relevant for both explaining and understanding EU external cooperation in this issue area.The implication is that the thesis adds to International Relations (IR) theory development by demonstrating how a synthetic theoretical approach brings added value to the study of strategic social construction. In addition, the thesis also affirms that actors and structures are co-constituted in the European migration and development regime. The EU interacts intersubjectively with third countries through a logic of the social. Mutual recognition is of key importance for international cooperation but is not always exercised by the EU. Migration statecraft has, nevertheless, made this inconsistent regime possible.