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Title: Whose voice prevails? : policy-making at the crossroads between security and development in EU-West African migration cooperation
Author: Mouthaan, Melissa
ISNI:       0000 0004 9348 2722
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis adds to understanding of EU-African migration cooperation, forming an empirical study on the politics of policy-making between the EU and West African countries. It appraises the scope and limitations of EU external migration governance in Senegal and Ghana, and the participation of diverse actors in the shaping of migration governance. Contextually, the EU has intensified its cooperation with non-EU countries in the area of migration. Governing, shaping and stemming migration flows in regions beyond EU borders, both in the EU’s traditional neighbourhood region of North Africa and the Middle East, but also increasingly in sub-Saharan Africa has formed the basis of an active and dynamic EU external migration policy. This governance overlaps and intersects with security and development policy, where both form an intrinsic part of migration governance agendas and of policy-makers’ toolboxes. Yet the picture that emerges is one where the EU is sometimes – but not always – successful in achieving its policy preferences with non-EU countries. The limitations on powerful actors to govern migration through bilateral and multilateral cooperation exist but remain obscure, while the mediating influence of the domestic context EU policy is received in remains under-theorised. This thesis addresses these gaps. Treating the practice of governance as a complex, multi-layered and multi-sited process, I examine how actors involved in this process form their preferences, and if they are subsequently able to bring their preferences to bear in migration governance. Central to this thesis is the notion that actors involved in EU-African migration cooperation operate in distinct institutional and organisational environments that both inform, and constrain, their actions. EU migration agendas play out at the policy level in formal negotiations but are also implicit in policy narratives that are exported to non-EU countries: both are examined in this research. Policy actors are shown to respond to political imperatives for adapting externalisation in different ways, interpreting and responding to policy adaptation pressures according to diverse rationales and interests. The research finds that this affects how the EU’s external migration governance is shaped and subsequently exported abroad, and the coherence of EU migration policy. EU and West African migration policy priorities diverge significantly in some areas of cooperation, where despite EU efforts to reach agreement, Senegal and Ghana deploy strategies to minimise cooperation. In other areas, migration policy priorities overlap or converge, resulting in specific migration governance agendas becoming legitimised by African domestic actors. These findings indicate that the domestic context is significant in determining EU-African migration cooperation, whereby the ability of powerful actors to co-opt weaker counterparts is nonetheless limited. Resonance with domestic interests and institutions emerges as a key factor in determining cooperation success, and reflects the agency of African actors in EU external migration governance.
Supervisor: Winkels, Alexandra Sponsor: Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds ; Hendrik Muller Fonds
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Migration governance ; Migration policy ; Migration ; West Africa ; Ghana ; Senegal ; European Union ; Development ; Externalisation ; African actors ; Public policy ; Sociology