From the Barcelona Process to the Arab Spring: The Role of Emotions in the EU Migration Policy towards the Mediterranean countries

Research output: Working paper


Since the 1990s, the issue of migration has gained in importance in the framework of EuroMediterranean relations. Over time, EU policy has progressively shifted from a “normativecomprehensive” toolbox aiming at tackling the root causes of migration through development aid, towards a more restrictive control-oriented toolbox (including practices of policing, surveillance and semi-militarized measures) designed to put an immediate stop to migration flows to Europe. This significant shift blemishes the image of the EU as a “normative power” and contravenes the original region-building spirit at the core of the Barcelona Process. In order to explain this change, I propose an emotional approach, centring on insights of social psychology and more generally located within constructivism in international relations. An indepth discourse analysis of official EU documents, as well as an analysis of resulting practices on the ground reveal the causal link between the socially constructed fear of migrants and the EU’s departure from the normative approach to migration towards a more control-oriented one.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationJerusalem
PublisherEuropean Forum at the Hebrew University
Number of pages52
StatePublished - 2011

Cite this