Immigration Policy as a Challenging Issue in the EU Policy-Making Process: A Study of Immigrant Integration Policy

University essay from Ekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Issue of immigration was for a long time controversial concern throughout the Europe. Because of its demand for labor, Europe needs certain level of qualified immigration. However, in late decades a big amount of refugee immigration flow created serious challenges as well. Perceived ‘threat’ of immigration resulted in restrictive policies at both national and EU level. EU level policies in this respect are very interesting to research on. Because of great sensitivity of immigration issues to state sovereignty, formulation of EU level policy also faces challenges in terms of balancing intergovernmentalist and supranationalist logic of integration. Therefore, we have studied those policy and decision-making processes in immigration policy focusing on two issues: first, the motives behind the cooperation at EU level and the role of supranational institutions in shaping these EU level policies, second, the scope and capabilities of those policies. Immigrant integration policy have been chosen as a case to comprehend issue more closely and detailed. Immigrant integration policy is very important for the social cohesion of European societies and is inseparable part of immigration policies. Immigrant integration debate is very new in EU agenda; it is just getting its way to Brussels. Although EU has no competence on this issue, we found out that there are quite real opportunities for EU to have its own way of helping with member states’ policies. The paper identifies and discusses important aspects of immigration and immigrant integration policies at EU level, the reasons why EU level policies are not pro-active and not suprantionalised yet. It further explores the available EU level instruments and sources for constructing strategy of integrating immigrants. All these study is done in the light of theoretical framework which is the combination of several theories, due to the complexity of the immigration matters. Every theory explains either some stage in the development of EU level policies (liberal intergovernmentalism and new institutionalism) or the possible EU level policy-making framework (intensive transgovernmentalism and policy coordination/benchmarking) for the studied issues.

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