Roderick Parkes

European Migration Policy from Amsterdam to Lisbon

The end of the responsibility decade?

Baden-Baden Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, September 2010, 199 Pages ISBN 978-3-8329-5859-6 [AMP, Bd. 79]

It is a commonplace: EU asylum and immigration cooperation would look rather different without the dominant role of Europe's interior ministries. Policy instead remains broadly restrictive, illiberal and short on international solidarity.

Given the Amsterdam Treaty of 1999, the continued prevalence of these traits is perhaps surprising. The Treaty formally upgraded the European Commission and Parliament and could well have heralded a major shift in the character of policy.

From an academic perspective, interior ministries' success in asserting themselves in policymaking and their preoccupation with increasing control over migration might be put down to a desire to expand their autonomy and power. Analysing important policy initiatives of the past decade, this book points to a different reality.

Rather than institutional self-interest, interior ministries are motivated by an acute awareness of their responsibilities to EU citizens. This awareness has made them resistant even to those political actors directly elected by citizens, and has led to a control policy with potentially deleterious side effects for those they seek to represent.

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