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Integrating Integration. The Constitution of a EU Policy Domain on Migrant Integration

maandag, 10 december, 2012 - 14:45
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculteit: Social Sciences and Solvay Business School
Karel Van Miert building
Conference Room Rome
Hannelore Goeman

The public defence of the Ph.D. in Political Science for Hannelore Goeman will take place on Monday December 10th at 4 pm in the Conference Room Rome at the Institute for European Studies in the Karel Van Miert building, Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussel. The Ph.D. thesis is called ‘Integrating Integration. The Constitution of a EU Policy Domain on Migrant Integration.

Promoter: Prof. dr. Patrick Stouthuysen


The issue of migrant integration is not a novelty at European level. Several EU actors, the Commission in front, have long been emphasizing the need to promote the integration of thirdcountry nationals, highlighting how the European Union might play an important role in that regard. However, only recently did the EU Council pick up on these aspirations, explicitly calling for a ‘more vigorous integration policy’ in the Tampere conclusions from October 1999. This statement firmly placed integration policy on the EU agenda, marking a starting point for the constitution of a true policy domain on migrant integration at European level. In the following years, the member states would endorse a series of EU initiatives that directly aimed at furthering the integration of non-EU migrants throughout the Union, with the approval of a first ‘Common agenda on integration’ in December 2005 as a provisional highlight. The appearance of integration on the EU Council agenda in Tampere may however be called surprising, considering that the heads of state and government had barely paid attention to the integration of third-country nationals in the European context before that time. Indeed, national governments had long been reluctant to grant the European Union any role in the development of their integration policies, firmly holding on their exclusive competence in the field. In addition, the treaty did not provide an explicit legal basis for integration policy until recently, further adding to the conspicuousness of their sudden request. As such, the question arises how come the member states suddenly agreed to place integration on the European agenda in 1999? And how the ensuing policy domain then developed in the ensuing years, both in terms of timing and outcome? This thesis seeks to tackle these questions, accounting for the constitution of a new policy domain on migrant integration at EU level. Having developed an agenda-based model to shed light on the different steps in the policy process, it more concretely explores the exact circumstances under which this new policy domain took shape between 1999 and 2005.  

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