The EU in motion through emotions: Fear and migration policy in the Euro-Mediterranean context

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Since the 1990s, migration has featured prominently in Euro-Mediterranean relations. The EU migration policy has progressively shifted from a normative-comprehensive approach tackling the root causes of migration through development aid towards a control-oriented toolbox designed to immediately stop migration flows to Europe. This change has blemished the EU’s image as a normative power and contravened the region-building logic of the Barcelona Process. Contributing to the emotional turn in European Foreign Policy, this article argues that this shift corresponds to the behaviour of an actor under the grip of fear. The securitization of migration has permeated the EU institutions and contributed to the social construction of fear, leading to the emergence of fearful emotional practices. Based on the emotion discourse analysis of relevant EU documents, this article highlights the importance of fear as driver of policy change, triggering the EU to deviate from its own normative commitments in its external relations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMeditteranean Politics
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • constructivism
  • emotions
  • EU migration policy
  • Euro-Mediterranean relations
  • securitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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