Research Handbook on the Politics of EU Law
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Research Handbook on the Politics of EU Law

Edited by Paul James Cardwell and Marie-Pierre Granger

Offering a wealth of thought-provoking insights, this topical Research Handbook analyses the interplay between the law and politics of the EU and examines the role of law and legal actors in European integration.
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Chapter 19: The politics of EU migration law

Rachel Dickson


Migration law is a salient area that interests many researchers and has gained much attention. As an area of law, migration’s political nature is quite obvious. The increased feeling that national legislatures have failed to respond to migration effectively creates the temptation to look for solutions at the international level. Yet migration issues are at the crux of sovereignty debates, creating tension with regard to states relinquishing powers and engaging in international cooperation. As a result, the politics of EU migration law is a dynamic and interesting area to examine. This chapter provides an understanding of the EU as an immigration entity and the sites of interaction between the law and politics regulating migration at the EU level. The integration context is explored to demonstrate the changing priorities of cooperation on migration issues over time and the perceived failures and successes of such initiatives. The categories of sought-after migration, refugee and asylum migration, and irregular migration are then used to explain the EU regulatory framework and policy priorities. Motivating rationales and limiting factors across the different EU institutions and national contexts are considered. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the research agenda in this area, offering some insights into theoretical positions, methods and further inquiry. Migration seems set to be a political priority for years to come and so researchers must be attentive to the wider context informing law and policy, as well as the implications of these for legal subjects.

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