Advertisement

Comparative European Politics

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 155–171 | Cite as

Does Europeanization stick? National policies and sustained Europeanization strategies by domestic migrant and refugee organizations

  • Melissa SchnyderEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

How domestic civil society organizations (CSOs) “Europeanize” their political activities has become a popular area of research. Most Europeanization research has focused on how groups Europeanize, or why some choose to Europeanize and others do not. Although these are important questions, scholars have not thoroughly investigated what drives the Europeanization of organizations’ political activity in the first place, or how enduring it tends to be. Using survey data of CSOs across Europe working in the area of migrant and refugee rights, along with domestic policy data, this study aims to fill this gap by analyzing how domestic policies facilitate or constrain sustained interactions with European Union (EU) officials and EU organizations. It contributes to research that aims to determine whether Europeanization tends to resemble sporadic interactions, or regular patterns that endure over time. This study goes beyond past research in two main ways: First, it broadens the empirical lens by including CSOs across every EU Member State, and secondly, it adds a precise temporal dimension in evaluating the frequency of interaction with specific EU actors over given periods of time, allowing for an assessment of how enduring (or sporadic) Europeanization tends to be on a larger scale and with more precision than previous studies have been able to achieve.

Keywords

Europeanization Social movements Immigration Asylum Civil society organizations EU policymaking 

Introduction

Research in the Europeanization literature examines the conditions under which civil society actors will reach beyond their home states and establish direct contacts with the European Union (EU) in their political activities. Many studies, for example, have focused on available opportunities at the European level and document specific modes of Europeanization (Della Porta and Caiani 2007, 2009), whereas other comparative research has analyzed why some civil society organizations have Europeanized to a greater extent than others (Monforte 2014). A more recent strand of the literature (still in its infancy) reverses the causal arrow and assesses the effects of Europeanization on domestic civil society groups (Vassallo 2015; Sanchez Salgado 2014). Taken together, this body of work has produced important insights concerning the opportunities and constraints that differentially shape the Europeanization strategies of domestic civil society actors, the various forms and avenues that Europeanization takes, and the organizational consequences of doing so.

However, given that the degree of Europeanization varies greatly among domestic organizations across Europe, important questions remain, particularly concerning the sustained versus sporadic nature of groups’ Europeanization strategies, and the role of domestic institutions in triggering Europeanization processes. Scholars continue to lack a rigorous and comparative understanding of how specific national policy environments contribute to the phenomenon of Europeanization. In the Europeanization literature, more work needs to be done to gain an in-depth understanding of how national policies specific to a given issue sector contribute to the decision by civil society organizations across a wide range of countries to “go European.” Moreover, once they do decide to include the EU, empirical data are lacking to assess how enduring or sporadic these political exchanges tend to be. If we are to better understand (a) how the EU functions as a multilevel system of governance (Marks and Hooghe 1996) and (b) processes of Europeanization, “which are first defined and consolidated in the making of EU public policy and politics and then incorporated in the logic of domestic discourse, identities, political structures, and public policies” (Radaelli 2003: 30), these are important questions to address.

This research begins to fill this gap by examining civil society organizations working to address migrant and refugee issues across the EU. More specifically, it analyzes the impact of a wide range of national migrant integration policies on the propensity of these organizations to target specific EU-level actors, and to sustain those interactions. It contributes to the research that seeks to assess the strength of Europeanization to determine whether it tends to resemble more sporadic interactions, such as single initiatives, campaigns, or isolated instances of targeting the EU, or more regular patterns of interaction that endure over time. However, this study goes beyond past research in two main ways: First, it broadens the empirical lens by drawing on original survey data of migrant- and refugee-focused civil society organizations across every EU Member State, and secondly, it adds a precise temporal dimension in evaluating the frequency of interaction with specific EU actors over given periods of time. Taken together, this allows for an assessment of how enduring (or sporadic) the phenomenon of Europeanization tends to be on a larger scale and with more precision than previous studies have been able to achieve. The specific research questions under investigation are both descriptive and analytical, as follows: First, does Europeanization in this policy sector resemble more of an enduring or sporadic phenomenon? Secondly, how do national institutions, in the form of migrant integration policies, influence how enduring or sporadic Europeanization tends to be?

This paper proceeds by discussing the theoretical framework and how national policies can function as political opportunities and constraints on EU-directed activity. The ensuing sections explicate the data and methods used in addressing the main research questions and present the empirical results. The conclusion orients the main findings of the study within the relevant literature and suggests avenues for future research.

Civil society organizations as multilevel actors

In the literature on European integration, the term “multilevel governance” is associated with complex interactions that span different levels of governance and that involve different sets of policy actors (Schmitter 2000). In this vein, this paper conceives of migrant- and refugee-focused organizations as multilevel actors—a conception that recognizes the importance of the state in relation to political activity. At the same time, the multilevel governance framework also acknowledges the significance of organizations’ political activity that may be organized and/or directed beyond the state, particularly given the dynamics of European integration that create more layers of decision-making. The multilevel framework does not necessarily predict a shift of scale (Tarrow and McAdam 2004) in the political activism of social movements and civil society organizations as it does the addition of another level of action or arena of activity that organizations target outside of the domestic sphere.

The idea that civil society organizations are politically active simultaneously in multiple arenas complements findings and conclusions from prior research that examines the Europeanization of social movements. For example, Della Porta and Caiani (2009) have found strong evidence that supports the increasing transnationalization of European social movements, despite the fact that most of their political activity is still situated at the national level. They conclude that there are “clear signs of an adaptation to multilevel governance, especially in terms of…transnational networking of domestic organizations,” (Della Porta and Caiani 2009: 125). In addition, in analyzing the relevance of the EU to social movements, their study supports a process of “slowly emerging Europeanization from below” (Della Porta and Caiani 2009: 81), in which groups place pressure on EU institutions through action at the national level (see also Monforte 2014). This research aims to complement this body of work by analyzing the extent to which European-directed political activity tends to be fleeting in nature, or whether it tends to occur with regularity over time.

Teune (2010) notes that in thinking of social movements as multilevel actors, there are complex dynamics at play. He argues that “transnational contention is more than a scale shift of challengers who organize across borders…” (Teune 2010: 12); on the contrary, this type of activity can be expected to generate new actors, frames, and opportunities. The assumption is that sustained political action is required to accomplish this. However, in the Europeanization literature, the “durability” or extent to which EU-directed political activity tends to endure over time has not been empirically evaluated. Yet, this element of endurance is important in assessing the longer-term implications of political action directed toward the EU. For example, one might expect the generation of new norms, identities, and opportunities to stem from the most enduring alliances.

National migrant integration policies as opportunities and constraints

Generally speaking, political opportunity structure research focuses on factors exogenous to the organization to explain its behavior. According to Tarrow, the political opportunity structure can be thought of as “consistent—but not necessarily formal or permanent—dimensions of the political environment that provide incentives for people to take collective action by affecting their expectation of success or failure,” (1998: 76–77). Thus, the ways in which political opportunities and constraints are structured in the environment in which the organization operates affect the types of political activities it chooses (McAdam 1982; Tarrow 1998; McAdam et al. 1996; Kitschelt 1986). Because this theoretical tradition focuses on structural aspects of the external world, it is a useful framework for analyzing how state policies influence political activity directed toward the EU.

In this research, domestic migrant integration policies can be thought of as the political-institutional environment as it relates specifically to migrant- and refugee-focused organizations. Taken together, these policies represent the relevant national policy context in which the organization operates (Berclaz and Giugni 2005). This study seeks to better understand how these specific institutional features of the state shape groups’ Europeanization strategies.

Modes of Europeanization

Europe as a multilevel system of governance has caused organizations “to adapt their strategies to address simultaneously the various territorial levels of government” (Della Porta and Caiani 2009: 14). Although these are not the only strategies that organizations can employ, prior Europeanization research has focused largely on two strategies that groups utilize to influence policy and enact political pressure: domestication and externalization (Balme and Chabanet 2002; Della Porta and Caiani 2009; Monforte 2014; Imig and Tarrow 2001).

The first strategy, domestication, involves targeting the national government in response to a supranational issue. Although groups mobilize at the national level in this scenario, their actions take on a European dimension “because they are constructed in reaction to decisions taken at the European level” (Monforte 2014: 9). This strategy reflects the reality that it is easier and less costly for groups to mobilize within the confines of their own nation-state and target national institutions in an effort to indirectly pressure European institutions. As groups most often employ domestication strategies in protesting against the EU (Imig and Tarrow 2001), this mode of Europeanization has been the focus of much social movement research. For example, Della Porta and Caiani have argued that the strategy of domestication has allowed groups “to overcome the weak democratic accountability of EU institutions, while producing European structures and frames” (2009: 15).

The second strategy, externalization, involves national organizations bypassing their domestic institutions and targeting the EU directly, in an effort to pressure their national governments (Balme and Chabanet 2002). In this scenario, groups take advantage of EU-level opportunities in an attempt to improve the situation at the national level. Organizations may perceive that EU policies are, or have the potential to be, more favorable than existing national-level policies. Furthermore, organizations may opt to take on the higher cost of targeting the EU directly because they perceive the potential to impact policies across the EU as a whole. In this mode of Europeanization, “European institutions are…perceived as being close allies that can be used against national governments” (Monforte 2014: 9).

The direct action with EU actors that externalization involves can be facilitated by European opportunities. The EU is a significant source of funds for many domestic organizations (Mahoney and Beckstrand 2011); thus, EU funds provide an opportunity to establish these contacts with EU institutions (Sanchez Salgado 2014). Due to this, EU funds may be regarded as a driver or reinforcer of Europeanization “from above.” By contrast, other research has pointed to Europeanization “from below,” whereby national institutions play a primary role in facilitating the Europeanization of domestic groups (Monforte 2014).

This research specifically focuses on the strategy of externalization to analyze the direct interactions between national organizations and EU actors. In doing so, it does not deny that domestication is a predominant strategy; rather, it opts to evaluate the factors that mobilize groups to engage in the more costly mode of Europeanization. It assumes that domestication is indeed less costly and therefore easier for groups to engage in and that externalization “requires a high degree of Europeanization” as domestic actors turn to European targets (Sanchez Salgado 2014: 42). This research aims to evaluate how sustained this strategy tends to be once domestic organizations choose to employ it, and the extent to which national policies encourage this mode of Europeanization “from below.” It also accounts for the independent effect of EU-level opportunities in driving or reinforcing Europeanization “from above.”

Data and methods

The data on Europeanization in this analysis come from an original survey of migrant- and refugee-focused civil society organizations across Europe. A challenge to constructing the sample frame involves compiling the relevant organizations across the EU. Therefore, a triangulation strategy was employed that involved collecting information from different organizational directories compiled and published independently by different sources in order to construct as comprehensive a sample frame as possible (Minkoff 2002; Klandermans and Smith 2002). Two directories were primarily used: (1) The European Directory of Migrant and Ethnic Minority Organisations, compiled by Ciarán O’Maoláin for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and published by the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations, and (2) The European Address Book against Racism, an online directory of over 5000 organizations compiled and published by UNITED for Intercultural Action. The resulting sample frame was cross-checked against the national organization rosters on the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants’ website. This allowed the sample frame to be supplemented to increase representation among small grassroots organizations and those working on highly specialized or localized issues. These strategies produced a sample frame consisting of 871 organizations.

A census was taken of these organizations; that is, each group was contacted by email with an invitation to complete the survey. The survey questionnaire was offered in five different languages to encourage and enable participation across multiple countries: English, French, Spanish, German, and Italian. The survey was administered to the directors of these organizations from March through June of 2014. Of the 871 organizations contacted, 153 organizations (17.6%) returned a questionnaire. Of this total, 119 groups (13.7%) returned a fully completed questionnaire and 34 groups (3.9%) returned a partially completed questionnaire. The sample includes a broad range of organizations from each of the 28 EU Member States, whose combined membership exceeds 860,000 individuals and whose combined annual budget is greater than 112 million Euros.

Dependent variables

To measure sustained versus sporadic EU-directed political activity, the dependent variables consist of a series of survey questions that asked organizations to report how frequently they are in contact with two types of actors: (1) EU officials and (2) EU-level organizations (for example, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles and the Church’s Commission for Migrants in Europe) in four types of activities: (a) exchanging information, (b) exchanging expertise, (c) exchanging staff and other resources, and (d) engaging in common projects. This range of activities allows for an analysis of both publicly visible and less public activities. The frequencies were measured as follows: (1) never or almost never, (2) less than once a year, (3) once a year, (4) once every six months, (5) once every two to three months, (6) once a month, (7) once every two weeks, (8) once a week, and (9) several times a week.

Independent variables and controls

Country-specific policy indicators from the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX)1 are used to measure national migrant- and refugee-related policies that could impact the decision by organizations to Europeanize their political activities. The dataset aggregates country-level scores on 148 migrant- and refugee-specific policy indicators into seven policy areas: labor market mobility, family reunion, education, political participation, long-term residence, access to nationality, and anti-discrimination.2 It therefore presents a multi-dimensional picture of the national policy context specific to migrants and refugees.

Because other factors could also impact the decision to Europeanize, several control variables are included. These include the organization’s age (in years), annual budget, whether it orients its work primarily toward national versus international issues, its degree of focus specifically on migrant and refugee issues (as opposed to other issues it may work on), and whether or not it has received a grant from the European Commission. The receipt of a Commission grant is also of substantive interest, since it can serve as a vehicle of Europeanization “from above” by opening up opportunities for EU-level action (Sanchez Salgado 2014).

How enduring are relationships with EU actors?

The first research question asks how enduring organizations’ relationships are with different EU-level actors. In other words, descriptively, do groups tend to interact with EU actors only sporadically, perhaps when windows of opportunity arise from time to time? Or, do these interactions reflect more sustained and consistent strategies of Europeanization?

Table 1 displays the frequencies with which organizations interact with both EU-level officials and EU-level organizations in different types of activities. In examining the extreme end of the scale, the data show that very few domestic groups engage with EU officials or organizations on a highly sustained basis (for example, once every two weeks, or more), although there is some variation by type of activity. In collapsing the scale to create frequency categories, on average, roughly a third of the groups do engage in contacts with these EU targets on a somewhat to very frequent basis (33.3% with EU officials and 30.1% with EU organizations), that is, once every two to three months or more. On the other end, the majority of domestic organizations report somewhat to very infrequent interactions (66.7% with EU officials and 70.1% with EU organizations), taking place once every six months or less. Although most groups interact only sporadically with these EU actors on average, a sizeable percentage nonetheless engages in more sustained Europeanization strategies.
Table 1

Frequency of interaction with EU officials and EU organizations

 

Somewhat to very frequent

Somewhat to very infrequent

Several times a week

Once a week

Once every two weeks

Once a month

Once every two to three months

Average of somewhat to very frequent

Once every six months

Once a year

Less than once a year

Never or almost never

Average of somewhat to very infrequent

Activities with EU Officials

 Exchanging information

0.0

3.8

11.3

11.3

26.4

52.8

18.9

5.7

13.2

9.4

47.2

 Exchanging expertise

0.0

1.9

3.7

7.4

29.6

42.6

18.5

14.8

11.1

13.0

57.4

 Exchanging staff and other resources

0.0

0.0

2.0

3.9

7.8

13.7

15.7

7.8

13.7

49.0

86.2

 Undertaking common projects

0.0

0.0

1.9

3.7

18.5

24.1

13.0

16.7

18.5

27.8

76.0

 Average

0.0

1.4

4.7

6.6

20.6

33.3

16.5

11.3

14.1

24.8

66.7

Activities with EU Organizations

           

 Exchanging information

3.2

1.6

7.9

12.7

25.4

50.8

22.2

11.1

12.7

3.2

49.2

 Exchanging expertise

0.0

0.0

10.0

6.7

16.7

33.4

23.3

15.0

20.0

8.3

66.6

 Exchanging staff and other resources

0.0

0.0

0.0

5.5

7.3

12.8

10.9

9.1

21.8

45.5

87.3

 Undertaking common projects

0.0

0.0

1.6

4.9

16.4

22.9

14.8

16.4

29.5

16.4

77.1

 Average

0.8

0.4

4.9

7.5

16.5

30.1

17.8

12.9

21.0

18.4

70.1

Note: Figures are percentages of domestic organizations that report engaging in the given activity with the given frequency

In examining the different activities, the most sustained modes are the exchange of information and expertise, followed by common projects. On average, over 50% of domestic groups report exchanging information with EU officials and organizations at least once every two to three months. Over one-third exchange expertise with these EU actors with the same frequency (42.6% with EU officials and 33.4% with EU organizations). When it comes to undertaking common projects with EU actors, 24.1% do so at least once every two to three months with EU officials and 22.9% with EU organizations. By comparison, relatively few groups participate in staff/resource exchanges with EU actors with any regularity.

How does the national policy context influence the decision to Europeanize?

Secondly, this research seeks to determine how national migrant integration policies contribute to the decision by organizations to Europeanize. Does the national policy context promote sustained modes of Europeanization, even when controlling for other factors, such as the organization’s budget and age? If so, under what national conditions are groups likely to use enduring forms of Europeanization?

Table 2 displays the results of the statistical analyses that examined the impact of the national policy context, along with other variables, on enduring Europeanization strategies with EU officials (for example, European Commission officials or those in other EU institutions). Overall, the data show that national migrant integration policies do not strongly or significantly impact the decision to undertake enduring activities with EU officials. National policies only weakly influence the decision by organizations to regularly engage in exchanges of staff members with EU institutions. In this case, groups based in states with more open migrant integration policies are more likely than those based in more restrictive environments to coordinate staff exchanges on a regular basis with specific EU institutions. However, the relationship is only weakly significant (p < .10).
Table 2

Europeanization strategies of domestic organizations with EU officials

 

Exchanging information

Exchanging expertise

Exchanging staff and other resources

Undertaking common projects

Age

− 0.150 (0.01)

− 0.096 (0.01)

− 0.131 (0.01)

0.043 (0.01)

Budget (log)

0.314* (0.13)

0.199 (0.12)

0.155 (0.12)

0.323** (0.11)

National NGO

0.307 (0.70)

0.053 (0.63)

0.050 (0.65)

0.035 (0.55)

International NGO

0.128 (0.85)

0.156 (0.75)

0.205 (0.76)

0.203 (0.67)

Commission grant

0.396** (0.62)

0.525*** (0.56)

0.213 (0.56)

0.340** (0.49)

Degree of migrant focus

0.006 (0.20)

0.039 (0.18)

0.060 (0.18)

− 0.021 (0.15)

Migrant integration policy: overall score

0.039 (0.02)

0.133 (0.02)

0.298* (0.02)

0.208 (0.02)

Migrant integration: specific policies

    

 Labor market mobility

0.021 (0.01)

0.157 (0.01)

0.273 (0.01)

0.192 (0.01)

 Family reunion

0.036 (0.02)

0.096 (0.02)

0.250 (0.02)

0.200 (0.01)

 Education

− 0.094 (0.02)

− 0.043 (0.02)

0.212 (0.02)

0.136 (0.02)

Political participation

0.110 (0.02)

0.202 (0.01)

0.275 (0.02)

0.134 (0.01)

 Long-term residence

− 0.008 (0.02)

− 0.030 (0.02)

0.261 (0.02)

0.153 (0.02)

 Access to nationality

0.105 (0.02)

0.162 (0.01)

0.227 (0.02)

0.212 (0.01)

 Anti-discrimination

0.042 (0.02)

0.149 (0.02)

0.128 (0.02)

0.117 (0.01)

Note: Entries are standardized beta coefficients from multiple regression analysis. The dependent variable is the frequency with which the domestic organization participates in the given activity

*Denotes significance at the 0.10 level

**At the 0.05 level

***At the 0.01 level. Standard errors are reported in parentheses

When it comes to the other activity types—exchanging information, exchanging expertise, and undertaking common projects—enduring participation is primarily driven by having received a grant from the European Commission. For example, a Commission grant significantly increases the frequency of the exchange of information (p < .05) and expertise (p < .01) between organizations and officials in the EU institutions. Moreover, it significantly increases the regularity with which groups and EU institutions work together toward common projects (p < .05). In addition to one-time Commission grants, the annual budget is a relevant factor. A bigger budget enables more enduring exchanges of information (p < .10) and participation in common projects (p < .05) with officials from EU institutions. By contrast, the national policy context plays almost no role in increasing the frequency or regularity of these activities. In general, these findings tend to support those studies that have found the Europeanization of domestic organizations to be an EU-driven process (Sanchez Salgado 2014; Schimmelfennig and Ulrich 2004, 2005).

Table 3 shows the results of the analyses examining how the national policy context, along with other variables, impacts enduring Europeanization strategies that involve other organizations at the EU level. Here as well, the receipt of a European Commission grant increases the frequency with which organizations engage in certain strategies with EU organizations, making them much more regular and enduring. For example, it enables the regular exchange of information with EU organizations (p < .01), and it weakly facilitates the regular exchange of staff members (p < .10).
Table 3

Europeanization strategies of domestic organizations with EU organizations

 

Exchanging information

Exchanging expertise

Exchanging staff and other resources

Undertaking common projects

Age

− 0.229 (0.01)

− 0.208 (0.01)

− 0.113 (0.01)

− 0.178 (0.01)

Budget (log)

0.014 (0.14)

0.196 (0.14)

0.155 (0.15)

0.161 (0.12)

National NGO

− 0.142 (0.60)

0.028 (0.57)

− 0.048 (0.54)

− 0.133 (0.49)

International NGO

0.094 (0.84)

0.179 (0.78)

0.214 (0.72)

0.093 (0.67)

Commission grant

0.435*** (0.57)

0.231 (0.56)

0.315* (0.53)

0.170 (0.47)

Degree of migrant focus

0.065 (0.20)

0.036 (0.19)

− 0.015 (0.19)

0.075 (0.16)

Migrant integration policy: overall score

0.098 (0.02)

0.391*** (0.02)

0.203 (0.02)

0.350** (0.02)

Migrant integration: specific policies

    

 Labor market mobility

0.086 (0.01)

0.352** (0.02)

0.155 (0.01)

0.218 (0.01)

 Family reunion

− 0.018 (0.02)

0.153 (0.02)

0.024 (0.02)

0.264* (0.01)

 Education

0.150 (0.02)

0.368** (0.02)

0.162 (0.02)

0.403*** (0.01)

 Political participation

0.197 (0.01)

0.424*** (0.01)

0.319* (0.01)

0.289* (0.01)

 Long-term residence

− 0.094 (0.02)

0.014 (0.02)

0.061 (0.02)

0.110 (0.02)

 Access to nationality

0.130 (0.01)

0.402*** (0.01)

0.126 (0.02)

0.302* (0.01)

 Anti-discrimination

0.008 (0.02)

0.190 (0.02)

0.029 (0.02)

0.213 (0.01)

Note: Entries are standardized beta coefficients from multiple regression analysis. The dependent variable is the frequency with which the domestic organization participates in the given activity

*Denotes significance at the 0.10 level

**At the 0.05 level

***At the 0.01 level. Standard errors are reported in parentheses

A point of note is that national migrant integration policies play a much more significant role in encouraging enduring activities with EU organizations than they do in encouraging the same activities with EU officials. More specifically, the national policy context significantly facilitates the sustained exchanges of expertise with organizations at the EU level (p < .01), and it significantly facilitates regular participation in common projects (p < .05), even after controlling for other factors. Here, it is somewhat noteworthy that more open national policy environments promote more enduring interactions between national- and EU-level organizations—a point to which I return below.

In addition to the overall policy index, Table 3 also shows the effect of each individual policy on these activities.3 In disaggregating the national policy environment and examining the effects of these specific migrant integration policies, there are several that play a role in promoting sustained exchanges of expertise with EU organizations. More specifically, both political participation policy and access to nationality play a strongly significant role in facilitating sustained exchanges of expertise between domestic groups and EU organizations. With regard to the former policy area, the political participation of migrants consists of formal, institutionalized opportunities to inform and influence policies at the supranational, national, and/or sub-national levels. A more open policy, for example, would grant voting rights, allow migrants to run in local elections, and support the development of an active civil society among migrants. In addition, access to nationality refers to the opportunities for, and ability of, migrants to obtain citizenship in their country of settlement. This policy area takes into account the eligibility criteria for obtaining citizenship, the conditions for acquiring it, the security of status (grounds for refusing or withdrawal of status, and legal redress in the case of refusal), and possibilities for dual nationality. Beyond these two policy areas, labor market mobility and education policies also influence enduring exchanges of expertise. Labor market mobility takes into account the ability of migrants to access and participate in the full labor market as native citizens do, considering overall access to the labor market, general and targeted support, and workers’ rights. Education policy considers migrants’ access to, and support received for, public educational programs, focusing on overall access to them, the extent to which the specific educational needs of migrants are targeted, the extent to which new educational opportunities for migrants are provided, and intercultural education. Where each of the above policies is more open, the sustained exchange of expertise with EU organizations becomes more likely. The array of statistically significant policies underscores that this mode of Europeanization tends to be driven by political, social, and economic policies, as opposed to a single dimension of integration policy.

When it comes to explaining regular participation in common projects between domestic and EU organizations, the disaggregated policy index again sheds light on the type of policy environment most likely to facilitate this mode of Europeanization. In this case, however, migrant education policy is the main driving force; family reunion, political participation, and access to nationality only reach weak levels of significance by comparison. Where the education policy environment is more favorable to migrants, participation in common projects on a sustained basis becomes more likely.

The logic of the externalization strategy would appear to suggest that a less favorable domestic environment should lead to more frequent interactions with EU targets. If domestic groups target European actors to help improve the situation at the national or local level (Balme and Chabanet 2002; Della Porta 2003), then one might expect to observe the most frequent and sustained interactions from organizations in more restrictive states. Therefore, it is noteworthy that an open and favorable national integration policy environment facilitates more sustained patterns of interaction between domestic- and EU-level organizations. Although it is entirely possible that groups based in restrictive states do target EU institutions to place pressure on their national governments, the results presented here suggest that their actions are more likely to be sporadic in nature as opposed to sustained.

It may be easier for groups based in states with more favorable migrant integration policies to sustain their Europeanization strategies for several reasons. First, in open environments, organizations tend to employ more formalized repertoires of action and have more opportunities to amass resources (Monforte 2014: 16). In addition, pressuring the national government for policy change is presumably a less pressing matter for groups based in more favorable policy settings, allowing them the opportunity to direct their resources toward building relationships at the EU level. If domestic policies are, on the whole, already relatively favorable, then organizations may be less occupied with domestic concerns, and therefore better positioned to Europeanize their strategies in a more sustained and enduring manner in order to have a broader influence, or to work for policy change on a larger scale. This may also afford such organizations the opportunity to become more active members of EU umbrella organizations (Uçarer 2009), for example, aiming to influence EU-level policies. Engaging in these Europeanization strategies on a sustained versus sporadic basis may signal the desire to diffuse favorable national policies to the EU level, as opposed to using the EU to influence domestic-level change.

Conclusion

This purpose of this research has been to evaluate how sustained Europeanization tends to be, and the role that domestic institutions play in triggering Europeanization processes. Focusing on the strategy of externalization whereby domestic groups forge direct connections with EU targets in an effort to pressure their national governments (Balme and Chabanet 2002), this research asked two questions: (1) how enduring are the relationships that civil society organizations form with different EU-level actors, and (2) how do national integration policies contribute to the decision to Europeanize, independently of EU opportunities?

With regard to the first question, this study has found that the majority of domestic organizations exhibit only sporadic patterns of Europeanization. That is, when they target EU actors directly, most groups likely do so in response to a specific moment of opportunity. Despite this finding, a sizeable percentage of groups nonetheless do appear to have “institutionalized” their Europeanization strategies, forging ties with EU officials and/or organizations as part of a sustained and consistent strategy. These groups can be considered as having Europeanized such that the EU has become a regular part of their political action repertoire. For this sizeable minority, a “durable network structure” exists (Della Porta and Diani 1999), reflected in their high degree of Europeanization; for the majority, their EU interactions appear to represent more fleeting “political exchanges” (Tarrow 1998: 187). Still, the data reveal that perhaps domestic organizations are Europeanizing more than might be expected given that many prior studies have found very minimal activity at the EU level (Della Porta and Caiani 2009; Kriesi et al. 2007; Imig and Tarrow 2001).

Turning to the second question, the results overall lend support to explanations of Europeanization both “from above” (as an EU-driven process) and “from below” (as driven by domestic factors), depending upon the target. On the one hand, the findings underscore that EU-level opportunities, in the form of funding from the European Commission, are important in explaining Europeanization strategies that target EU officials, such as those in the European Commission and European Parliament. By contrast, the national policies played almost no role at all in explaining these activities. These findings are consistent with research that finds the EU itself to be a primary engine of Europeanization. As an EU-driven process, the Europeanization of domestic organizations has been facilitated by Commission officials “because this served their own political agenda” (Sanchez Salgado 2014: 11). Given this, and the proliferation of EU funding opportunities, it should not come as a surprise to find that a fair percentage of domestic groups have Europeanized in a sustained way. In general, EU funding promotes Europeanization strategies that target EU officials based in EU institutions (Sanchez Salgado 2014). These findings appear to support the strategy of externalization (Balme and Chabanet 2002) in that groups establish direct contacts with EU institutions through the use of European opportunities, which include EU funds (Sanchez Salgado 2014). Yet, as discussed below, any conclusions need to take into account which EU targets are examined.

On the other hand, the characteristics of national institutions play a strong role in facilitating sustained interactions “from below” with EU organizations. However, the logic of externalization, whereby groups build connections with the EU in an effort to place pressure on their national governments to address unfavorable national policies, is not strongly supported by the findings. Rather, the findings underscore that groups operating in more open policy environments are more likely to use these strategies in a sustained manner compared to their counterparts in less favorable states. Overall, this suggests that the most Europeanized groups are likely to be those that have already won some concessions domestically and perhaps use EU organizations in an effort to achieve a broader impact or diffuse relatively favorable national policy standards as part of a multilevel strategy (Monforte 2014: 9). By contrast, externalization is likely to be a strategy used more sporadically when it comes to direct contacts with EU organizations.

The above conclusions suggest that Europeanization research would benefit from a more nuanced examination of Europeanization strategies that also take account of national-level factors. Moreover, it would benefit from the incorporation of a temporal dimension to help measure the degree of Europeanization. The bias in the literature toward studying business interest groups and EU-level organizations would be tempered by more accounts examining domestic civil society organizations and their interactions with different EU targets. The analyses presented here were based on pooled data across countries due to low within-country sample sizes. It would be worthwhile for subsequent research to increase within-country sample sizes to allow for disaggregation; for example, differences between Western versus Eastern European countries, old versus newer member states, and those with different levels of foreign-born populations could be meaningfully explored. Determining if statistically significant differences exist between East and West, for instance, could address questions concerning variations in the degree, scope, or determinants of Europeanization based on different country contexts. Such research would be beneficial in analyzing different dimensions of the Europeanization process in context-specific environments. Moreover, implementing additional waves of the survey would allow an analysis of trends in Europeanization over time. In addition, comparative studies would help shed light on Europeanization processes across different policy sectors, providing a more complete account of how civil society organizations influence, and are influenced by, the EU. The study of how enduring versus sporadic their direct interactions with various EU targets are sheds light on the extent to which Europeanization can be thought of as a sustained strategy, or whether it represents more of a fleeting moment of opportunity. The answer has implications for how Europeanized domestic civil society organizations actually are.

Footnotes

  1. 1.

    MIPEX is a publicly available dataset co-produced by the Migration Policy Group and the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs.

  2. 2.

    Higher scores reflect policies that would be considered more favorable to migrants.

  3. 3.

    Due to multicollinearity, the main results were run with a policy index that averages each individual policy into an overall national score. However, separate models were then run with each specific policy to gauge their individual influence on enduring Europeanization.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I thank the participating organizations for their time and insight and the university for funding this project through a faculty research grant.

References

  1. Balme, R., and D. Chabanet. 2002. Introduction: action collective et gouvernance de l’Union Européenne. In L’Action Collective en Europe, ed. R. Balme, D. Chabanet, and V. Wright, 21–120. Paris: Les Presses de Sciences Po.Google Scholar
  2. Berclaz, J., and M. Giugni. 2005. Specifying the concept of political opportunity structures. In Economic and Political Contention in Comparative Perspective, ed. M. Kousis, and C. Tilly, 15–32. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Della Porta, D. 2003. The Europeanization of protest: a typology and some empirical evidence. European University Institute Working Paper SPS No. 2003/18, Florence.Google Scholar
  4. Della Porta, D., and M. Caiani. 2007. Europeanization from below? Social movements and Europe. Mobilization 12(1): 101–116.Google Scholar
  5. Della Porta, D., and M. Caiani. 2009. Social Movements and Europeanization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Della Porta, D., and M. Diani. 1999. Social Movements: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  7. Imig, D. and Tarrow, S. (eds.) 2001. Contentious Europeans: Protest and Politics in an Emerging Polity. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  8. Kitschelt, H. 1986. Political opportunity structures and political protest: anti-nuclear movements in four democracies. British Journal of Political Science 16(1): 57–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Klandermans, B., and J. Smith. 2002. Survey research: A case for comparative designs. In Methods of Social Movement Research, ed. B. Klandermans, and S. Staggenborg, 3–31. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kriesi, H., A. Tresch, and M. Jochum. 2007. Going public in the European Union: action repertoires of western European collective political actors. Comparative Political Studies 40(1): 48–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mahoney, C., and M.J. Beckstrand. 2011. Following the money: European Union funding of civil society organizations. Journal of Common Market Studies 49(6): 1339–1361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Marks, G., and L. Hooghe. 1996. European integration from the 1980s: State-centric v. multi-level governance. Journal of Common Market Studies 34(3): 341–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McAdam, D. 1982. Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. McAdam, D., J.D. McCarthy, and M.N. Zald (eds.). 1996. Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements: Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Cultural Framings. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Minkoff, D.C. 2002. Macro-organizational analysis. In Methods of Social Movement Research, ed. B. Klandermans, and S. Staggenborg, 260–285. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  16. Monforte, P. 2014. Europeanizing Contention: The Protest Against “Fortress Europe” in France and Germany. Oxford: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  17. Radaelli, C.M. 2003. The Europeanization of public policy. In The Politics of Europeanization, ed. K. Featherstone, and C.M. Radaelli, 27–56. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Sanchez Salgado, R. 2014. Europeanizing Civil Society: How the EU Shapes Civil Society Organizations. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Schimmelfennig, F., and U. Sedelmeier. 2004. Governance by conditionality: EU rule transfer to the candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Journal of European Public Policy 11(4): 661–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Schimmelfennig, F., and U. Sedelmeier. 2005. Introduction: conceptualizing the Europeanization of Central and Eastern Europe. In The Europeanization of Central and Eastern Europe, ed. F. Schimmelfennig, and U. Sedelmeier, 1–28. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Schmitter, P.C. 2000. How to democratize the European Union—and Why Bother?. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  22. Tarrow, S. 1998. Power in Movement: Social Movements, Collective Action and Politics, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Tarrow, S., and D. McAdam. 2004. Scale shift in transnational contention. In Transnational Protest and Global Activism, ed. D. DellaPorta, and S. Tarrow, 121–150. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  24. Teune, S. (ed.). 2010. The Transnational Condition: Protest Dynamics in an Entangled Europe. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  25. Uçarer, E.M. 2009. Safeguarding asylum as a human right: NGOs and the European Union. In Transnational Activism in the UN and the EU: A Comparative Study, ed. J. Joachim, and B. Locher, 121–139. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Vassallo, M.T. 2015. The Europeanization of Interest Groups in Malta and Ireland: A Small State Perspective. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Security and Global StudiesAmerican Public UniversityCharles TownUSA

Personalised recommendations