In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section European Migration Policy

  • Introduction
  • Journals
  • Historical Background

International Relations European Migration Policy
Tine Van Criekinge
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 October 2012
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 October 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0087


Europe has a long-standing history both as a major point of destination for migrants and as a departure point for European migrants. The migration phenomenon is deeply rooted in Europe’s colonial past, industrial and socioeconomic power, geographic location, and history of integration. Increasingly, the European Union (EU) has become an important player in defining and developing migration policies for Europe, and it is important that due account be taken of the extent to which its policy efforts have impacted migrants, member states, and migrant-sending countries. This article seeks to provide a broad overview of the literature and debates surrounding European migration as a phenomenon as well as a policy area in which the EU now holds extensive competence. It considers the evolution over time, how migration has affected the nation-state and Europe, different types of migration, events that have impacted EU migration policy, and Europe’s relations with migrant-sending and transit countries. It presents literature on the topic written from a variety of perspectives, namely, historical, theoretical, conceptual, and empirical. The first section will provide broad overviews of migration trends as well as the evolution of migration as an EU policy area. In the Theoretical and Conceptual Approach section, the way in which European migration and EU migration policy has been conceptualized and the major theoretical frameworks surrounding the study will be explored. The Historical Background section focuses mainly on the evolution of the policy at the EU level. Under Migration-Related Themes, the impact that migration has had on notions of citizenship, the European welfare state, and public opinion, and the extent to which migrant rights and integration and minorities have become a part of the socioeconomic and political landscape of Europe, will be considered. The different types of migration that Europe has experienced, looking especially at labor migration, refugees, and asylum seekers as well as irregular, temporary and return migration, and trafficking, are examined in the Types of Migration section. This is followed by a section on events that have significantly shaped and affected European migration policy, namely, free movement of people through the Schengen Agreement and EU Enlargement. The next section looks at the External Dimension of the EU’s migration policy and considers Europe’s increasingly intricate relations with third countries on readmission and mobility partnerships and the extent to which security, development, and trade concerns have featured in these relations. The Member States section looks at the member-state level, with the focus specifically on France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and southern member states as major destination points for migrants. This bibliography will provide the reader with a better and broader understanding of European migration and the EU’s expanding role in the realm of this increasingly prevalent phenomenon.

General Overviews

Before delving into the literature exclusively focused on European migration and EU migration policy, it is helpful to consider some of the major works dedicated to the study of international migration. This section will first consider studies on International Migration in order to better examine the extent to which European migration is part of a larger phenomenon and how it often follows general global migration trends. The second part of this section looks at literature covering European Migration more explicitly in order to facilitate a better understanding of the historical and contemporary trends of the European migration phenomenon. Lastly, general works considering EU Migration Policy and the link between Migration and European Integration will be examined, along with Legal Studies.

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