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Natasja Reslow

In 2015, 1.3 million people filed asylum applications in one of the EU28 Member States. This enormous increase in migration inflows shook Europe and led to extraordinary scenes at the EU’s borders, intense political conflict both within and between the EU Member States and EU institutions, and far-reaching public debates on how to respond. The challenges posed by the ‘migration crisis’ can be seen as a type of critical juncture, which raises the question of where EU migration and asylum policies go from here. This chapter contributes to the fledgling academic literature on the ‘crisis’ by examining its effect on the content and form of EU external migration policy. The chapter asks: to what extent has EU external migration policy changed since 2015? First an analytical framework for assessing ‘policy change’ is derived from the public policy literature. This framework is then applied, through a document analysis, to the main externalised policy responses to the ‘migration crisis’: the European Agenda on Migration; the Valletta summit; the EU-Turkey deal; and the Migration Partnership Framework. The analysis thus reveals the extent to which EU external migration policy has changed over the past two years, how this change has played out, and the relationship between policy change and the ‘migration crisis’. The conclusion outlines theoretical explanations for policy change and policy stability, to be put to an empirical test in future research.