Limits and Contentions of EU Migration Governance: Reflections on the Juncker Commission and Beyond
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This article shows how the new European Commission (2014-2019) has prioritised issues of migration and mobility in the European Union. It explains the key measures promised by the Commission, and how these relate to existing migration and mobility governance (MMG) and its dynamic political context. An interpretive policy analysis is undertaken in order to expose the trajectories of the Union's MMG, and the ways in which these are contested. In particular, the article explains how the emphasis in the Commission and Council on enhancing the operational coherence in asylum and border control represents a strong centripetal force in migration governance. In contrast, mobility of EU citizens within the EU is subject to centrifugal, welfare protectionist, forces. In this latter domain, the Commission is set for an ongoing struggle in its assertion of a Union-wide approach. Finally it is argued that the result is a contingently Europeanised governance of mobility and migration. This establishes a highly unstable and contested political ordering of social, economic and political relations in the Union. These cut across conventional distinctions between the interests of member states and Commission. Together, these issues should lead us to explore more systematically how the «high politics» of Council and Commission are linked to the everyday practices of migrants, and their experience of EU policy.