The Logic of EU Policy-Making on (Irregular) Migration: Securitisation or Risk?

ABSTRACT: In the academic literature it has become common-place to assume that migration is treated as a security issue in the EU, and that EU migration policy has become “securitised”. However, countervailing tendencies exist: some observers have recently recognised a certain liberal turn in EU migration policy, and securitisation is sometimes applied in the academic literature rather loosely, i.e. to phenomena and developments that may rather follow a different logic, the logic of risk. The paper develops an operationalisation for distinguishing between the two logics empirically. Subsequently we probe the logic of security/securitisation and the logic of risk empirically through a qualitative content analysis of EU documents on (irregular) migration. Our findings suggest that, while there is evidence for both concepts, the risk logic has dominated the EU discourse in this field in recent years. In addition, it seems that different types of migrants are treated according to different logics in the EU documentation.

© Natalie Schmidthäussler and Arne Niemann

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