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Against Exceptionalism: British Interests for Selectively Europeanizing its Immigration Policy

  • Andreas Ette
  • Jürgen Gerdes
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Part of the Migration, Minorities and Citizenship book series (MMC)

Abstract

This chapter provides an analysis of the extent of Europeanization of the policies and politics of immigration in the United Kingdom (UK). In its relationship with the European Union (EU), the UK is often characterized as the odd one out and in comparison to other European member states the British approach towards immigration is considered unique. In contrast to this general assumption of ‘Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism’ we argue that the British case is in fact only a variant of the general pattern of the Europeanization of immigration policies and does not constitute a fundamentally different case. On the one hand the analysis shows that Britain is exceptional in the extent of its Europeanization, which is at the lowest level compared to other member states of the EU. With respect to the pattern of Europeanization we argue that the European impact on British policies of immigration is highly selective and that the government defends important features of its established politics of immigration. On the other hand, the UK is similar to other leading European member states insofar as it regularly makes use of the European level as a venue to pursue its national interests on immigration policy. Generally, the differences between the UK and other member states concerning the pattern of Europeanization are therefore a result of varying national interests. In particular, three main factors can account for the British case: (1) the mode of Europeanization structuring the British interaction with the EU in this policy area; (2) the increasing difficulties experienced by the UK in regulating migration flows in the national setting; and (3) the particular national preferences of the British government.

Keywords

European Union Immigration Policy Human Trafficking British Government Irregular Migration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Andreas Ette and Jürgen Gerdes 2007

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  • Andreas Ette
  • Jürgen Gerdes

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