The Rhetoric of European Migration Policy and Its Role in Criminalization of Migration

Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 81)


European migration policy frames migration predominantly as a securitarian issue and thus paints migrants as a threat to the established order of the EU. Even though the most recent documents use more liberal and humane rhetoric, the underlying assumptions about migration have not changed, and, furthermore, are getting even more difficult to recognise. This chapter demonstrates how the European migration policy has undergone some discursive changes since the pre-Maastricht period until today. Whereas the softening of discourse could, on the one hand, lead to less restrictive measures within migration policy, it, on the other hand, establishes a new field where foreignness is produced, and membership and belonging of migrants in the EU are delineated. These discursive shifts, despite exhibiting a widening of themes and terminology, including integration of new sensitivities, and ostensibly suggesting a picture of greater liberalism and humanitarianism, do not ultimately change the hierarchy of fundamental values, as all newly introduced themes remain subordinate to the current securitarian priorities. Furthermore, it is becoming even more challenging to detect the criminalisation of migrants within this changed field of political discourse, which is characterised not only by repressive aspects of power but also by affirmative discourses of fundamental European values, such as the protection of human lives and other humanitarian ideals.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ArtsUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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