The politics of mobility: EU’s visa liberalization
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The European Union (EU) argues that visa liberalization enhances the mobility of EU and non-EU citizens. My analysis shows that visa liberalization does not only promote mobility [for EU citizens], but that it regulates and controls the mobility of the visa-exempt non-EU citizens. On the basis of EU’s visa agreement with the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries I explore the rationale and ambitions behind current EU policies on visa liberalization. My analysis of migration data and interviews with policy makers shows how these policies influence migration trends in unforeseen ways, notably migration of illegal migrants. These unforeseen shifts in migration trends led to new tools and policies implemented by the EU to intensify their control on the mobility of individuals. As a result, the visa agreements aim at facilitating a functioning border control system that would acilitate and ease legitimate border-cross activities. At the same time, these visa agreements would intensify the focus and control on the (irregular) migration flows. Throughout this study, it becomes evident that the visa agreements with the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries resonate strongly with EU’s security strategy. Moreover, a security-discourse, is used by the EU to normalize the b/ordering and othering of visa-exempt non-EU citizens. As a result, visa liberalization does not provide an unconditional access for visa-exempt non-EU citizens but instead provides different constraints and opportunities for these citizens.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen