Pushing the Border Outwards : A Critical Discourse Analysis of the European Commission’s Securitisation of Migration and the Right to Asylum

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Teologiska institutionen

Abstract: This thesis scrutinises the European Commission’s discourse surrounding the externalisation of migration and asylum policies and discusses what potential implications this may have on the right to asylum. The aim of this work is to increase the understanding of how migration and security are discursively connected and identify what this discourse looks like. The study is placed in the context of a scientific debate on the Securitisation of migration and the externalisation of migration management. By means of a Critical Discourse Analysis, based on the work of Norman Fairclough, speeches and press releases produced by the European Commission are analysed. The analysis departs from the theoretical framework of the Copenhagen School of Security Studies and the concept of Securitisation, which suggests that political narratives have direct effects on policies. The theory also argues that when a phenomenon is securitised, policy measures that would otherwise not be acceptable, become legitimised in dealing with a constructed threat. The thesis presents three findings. The first main finding is that the Commission legitimises the externalisation of EU borders through a humanitarian discourse, arguing that the increased restrictions and shifting of responsibilities to third countries are necessary to protect migrants from human smugglers. Second, the current EU agenda risks limiting mobility in countries outside of the EU, thus creating large camps with substandard living conditions. And finally, from a human rights perspective, there is a great risk with the continued collective expulsions and pushbacks from EU territory, given that the mandate of Frontex is only seen to increase.

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