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This book examines the contribution of the European Commission to the process of transformation of EU borders. Migration issues have been at the centre of EU political debates in recent years. From national controversies sparked by the economic difficulties in the aftermath of the 2008 economic downturn to EU-wide problems caused by the record number of asylum seekers looking for a refuge in the Union. Simultaneously, the EU migration regime has undergone a profound change since the 1980s as a result of the developments in the integration process. Inevitably this has impacted borders, transforming their nature and functions. The author looks at four key EU policy areas, which in recent decades have substantially altered the EU migration regime: the European Neighbourhood Policy, social policy, border controls, and free movement of people. Based on a variety of Commission documents the analysis focuses on the different borders that have been transformed, their altered nature and functions, and the specific impact of the European Commission on to these processes.



Chapter 1. The European Commission and Borders: Towards a Framework for Analysis

This chapter starts with the observation that despite expectations of the diminished importance of borders, what has taken place has been a process of borders transformation. Furthermore, it identifies a novel institution, the European Commission, as an actor in this process, whose role is worth examining in greater detail. Based on these observations, the Chapter poses the study’s key research question: how does the European Commission contribute to the transformation of borders? The subsequent sections lay the groundwork for addressing this question. They present and engage with the key academic debates relevant to the study, define the key terms, classify the types of borders to be examined, explain why and how the European Commission can sway the EU policy processes and outline the study’s methodology.
Valentina Kostadinova

Chapter 2. Border Controls — Transforming Territorial Borders

This chapter discusses the transformation in the relevant bordering practices and the Commission contribution to this process in the area of border controls, showing the changing inclusion/exclusion dynamics on territorial and identity borders. It highlights as some of the key innovative features of the emerging post-modern bordering practices the hi-tech and selective nature of EU borders. Simultaneously, the chapter also pinpoints the persistence of traditional understandings of border controls, for example, the perceived need for compensatory measures. Also, it argues that in this field, member states have preserved their gate-keeping role, which restricts the scope for Commission action. Nevertheless, the discussion shows important recent instances of Commission entrepreneurial undertakings conducive to de-bordering.
Valentina Kostadinova

Chapter 3. Free Movement of People — Functional Borders Transformation

This chapter looks at the Commission contributions to the transformation of borders in the field of free movement of people. It demonstrates the main articulations conducive to de-bordering and the instances of Commission entrepreneurship, such as the Blue Card Initiative. At the same time, however, it also shows important border constructing and reconstructing dynamics, such as the establishment of meaningful distinctions between EU and third country nationals. The chapter highlights as one of the major reasons for these developments the fast-evolving and complex EU governance structure of the issues pertaining to the free movement of people. It often limits the Commission ability to attain its preferred outcomes, instead leading to borders re/construction.
Valentina Kostadinova

Chapter 4. Social Policy — Constructing European Identity

This chapter is focused on the Commission social dimension discourse, an area with great border-transforming potential given the role the welfare state played in the establishment of the borders of the traditional order. It argues that this policy field transforms identity borders. The key characteristic of the identity borders constructed through the Commission social dimension discourse is that they are more open and flexible in comparison to traditional ones. The examination of the Commission discourse reveals that despite the de-bordering trend towards the establishment of a common European social space, there are also border construction and reconstruction dynamics. These are a result of the EU social policy governance structure, which restricts the Commission’s ability to promote de-bordering.
Valentina Kostadinova

Chapter 5. ENP— Post-Modern External Relations and the Articulation of Continental Borders

The chapter looks at the bordering implications of the ENP, elucidating the transformation of borders in the European continent. It engages with the contradictory inclusion–exclusion dynamic articulated under the Commission ENP discourse. As with previous chapters, at face value, the Commission documents promote the establishment of a common space between the EU and its partner countries, eradicating current territorial, identity and legal borders. In the pursuit of this goal, the Commission uses key elements of the post-modern conduct of external relations. However, a critical engagement with the Commission articulations reveals significant contradictions and silences, creating identity and territorial borders in Europe. Some of these exclusionary practices are due to the Commission’s limitations in its adherence to the post-modern external relations conduct and a fall back to a traditional one instead.
Valentina Kostadinova

Chapter 6. Conclusion

This chapter draws together the key themes of the study. It summarizes the key findings on the research questions outlined in Chap. 1, by looking at the main features of the nature and functions of the transforming borders in the EU and major Commission contributions to the relevant processes.
Valentina Kostadinova


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