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Approaches in analyzing the European migration and immigrant's integration within the EU.


The question of migration has deeply concerned the political decision makers of the EU ever since the early 1980s. Not once since then, the over- politicization of the phenomenon, led to a over-publicizing and ultra-dramatizing of the people's from throughout the world migration (Martiniello 2006:298). As a matter of fact, the presence of immigrants and the migration flow are being perceived as a possible cause of insecurity or even a threat to the endogenous population (Martiniello and Bousetta, 2001). While in 1990 there were, worldwide, 120 million people living in countries different from their home countries, in 2000 there were 175 million, 159 million out of which were considered international immigrants, about 16 million were acknowledged as refugees, and around 900,000 were asylum seekers (Faist 2004:3). Concerning the European community, in 1998 there were around 19.1 million people from countries other than the 15 at that time member states. More recently, in 2005, 8.85% of Europe's population had been born elsewhere, and the estimations show that up until 2025 one third of the population shall be exogenous to the European mainland (Brettel si Hollifield 2008:1). The question of protecting minorities resulting from immigration within the EU is defined by contradiction, yet at the same time by a substantial potential for development. Whilst in the pre--Maastricht period, as Gabriel Toggenburg once noticed, the interest for preserving the linguistic heritage of minorities was high, the EU expansion eastwards brought into light the political side of protecting minorities. Following the treaty of Maastricht, the focus shifted towards the concept of cultural diversity, yet only later, the post--Amsterdam evolutions encouraged the "internalization" of minority-related subject-matters (Toggenburg 2003:25). Among the provisions of the Constitutional Treaty, regarding the notion of European citizenship, with all its incurring rights and freedoms, there is the right to vote and to be elected in the European Parliament, and in the local elections within the state of origin and of residence, having equal rights with all the other citizens of that state.

New perspectives in analyzing migration within the EU

Cunningham and Heyman are employing the mobility-enclosure continuum concept for highlighting the tension between processes that allow and generate mobility, and borders, that confine and limit the movement of ideas, persons and commodities.

Borders are continually re-shaping in the context of mobility, exerting influence upon the shaping and manifesting of social identity (O'Reilly 2007:279). Nina Glick Schiller, as well as other authors, are employing the term of trans-migrants, applied to those individuals who maintain affective and instrumental ties beyond national borders (Basch et al. 1994, Schiller et al. 1992).

On one hand, the mere fact that immigrants do not break all ties with their countries of origin, does not necessarily make them different from their precursor immigrants, and on the other hand, the ongoing necessity for adapting to a life befitted to their expectations, values and identity feelings is not to be neglected. The concept of trans-nationalism explains the migrants' identity and communities in a manner suited to the challenges of the present day.

The trans-national elites, a concept that describes highly-qualified professionals (Beaverstock 2005), are the archetype paradigm of the trans-migrant, embodied by the employee always on the move for a job, and who represents the quintessence of the flow of knowledge, skill, information, and who populates the segregated trans-frontier communities (Castells 2000).

Peter Kivisto (2001) maintains that there's no reason to assume that all modern-day migrants are trans-migrants.

The paradigm of trans-nationalism, that emerged in the late 1980s, is a critical response to the melting pot American model, and to the theories regarding assimilation and multiculturalism, as well as to the theories of migration incapacity of explaining the new form of immigrants' settling in several "national spaces". That paradigm amends three directions for analysis: (1) the elementary and anti-historic concept over culture and society (2) the methodological nationalism (3) studies on migration that make use of "assmilationist" and "multiculturalist " paradigms (Cotoi 2009: 175). In the first case, the studies undertaken by the School of Manchester regarding the Central Africa population migration, show that migrants originating from rural tribes preserve the characteristics of their originating environment (Mitchell 1969). The paradigm of trans-nationalism does not exclude the chance of employing the false argument of "men of two worlds" (Ferguson 1999: 102, apud Cotoi 2009: 177). The methodological nationalism appears in the form of a intellectual orientation, in which the process of shaping national states is a trans-national process (Glick Schiller 2007: 452 apud Cotoi 2009: 178).

Concerning the studies upon migration based on the assimilation, or multiculturalism model, the approach is one that does not place enough significance upon the importance of the trans-nationalism paradigm over ethnicity. David Riesman is among the first to advocate the term ethnicity (1953) aiming at eliminating discrimination on language, color, and religion grounds of some USA ethnic minorities (Hermet 1997:23) so that later on, Wallerstein (1960) and Gordon (1964) would attribute new features to this concept: that of belonging to a certain people (sense of peoplehood) or that of loyalty (feeling of loyalty) (Poutignat, Streiff-Fenart 1995:24). Herbert Gans employs the concept of symbolic ethnicity to shed light upon an "emotional tie" that defines the identity feeling of the individual, based on a "tradition that can be felt without having to be applied to day-to-day behavior". (Gans 1979: 146 apud Cotoi, 2009: 179).

Accepting the proteiform features of the concept of migration and bringing invariably together the content of various theories that sprung staring with the 1960s, one must admit the fact that no valid theory that explains every migratory situation is in place to this day. In this sense, one cannot overlook the fact that migration implies approaching globalization from a political anthropology point of view that brings along new global cultural flows, flows that can no longer be explained based on the worldwide system theory (Wallerstein), theory that emerged in the late 70s, and the early 80s.

A likely solution pointed at a proper understanding of migration in the post-modern era comes from Arjun Appadurai (1996), who identifies 5 dimensions to global flows: ethnic landscapes (ethnoscapes), media landscapes (mediascapes), technological landscapes (technoscapes), financial landscapes (financescapes), ideological landscapes (ideoscapes).

Randall Hansen (2004), in his paper Migration to Europe since 1945: Its History and its Lessons presents the two major migratory waves of post-war Europe that led to the emergence of multicultural and multilingual societies. The author presents Great Britain, France and Germany as the three illustrative examples of countries that did not succeed in providing the necessary social changes to cope with the challenges of migration and suggests a few lessons to be learned and applied to the present day. The first one points out to the fact that temporary migration will become permanent in the case of asylum seekers, yet not also in the case of skilled migrants. That is why public opinion and especially politicians play an important role in the society. Throughout history, there were times, the author explains, when public opinion backed immigrants, yet only if no major political party had an anti-immigration platform. The second lesson is that the main objective of integration is guaranteeing success on the labor market, considering that many migrants of economic-boom times do not possess the experience and the ability to cope with subsequent economic depression periods.

Therefore it is desirable that the immigrant selection process be based on professional skill and capacity of adapting to a flexible labor market. The lesson learned from asylum seekers shows that most of those that succeeded in settling in Europe shall stay in Europe. European countries need immigrants and for that reason, the author infers, a coherent migration policy should be developed collectively, if possible, and unilaterally, if required.

Integration and protection of the EU immigrants

The integration of immigrants is a very hard to define concept, considering that its analysis entails answering questions like: from what?, into what?, by whom?

Michael Banton (2001:151) introduces the term integration as a treacherous metaphor, which means that the interaction between groups resembles the mathematical process of creating integers, yet it does not offer clear algorithms for integration. The integration of minorities formed through migration depends on the society's attitude towards ethnic and racial groups, on diminishing prejudice, and on accepting cultural diversity by the indigenous population. The integration process has a triple justification, economic, social, and political. The economic justification means the benefits expected from a prolific population; the social justification-solidarity with the poor, one of Western's Europe major values; political justification is based on the basic human rights principle of equal treatment. The hosting countries being socially heterogeneous, integration cannot come in the form of social insertion, though, in any case, its purpose should be eliminating legal, cultural, linguistic obstacles, etc. The European Commission focused on measures aimed at protecting human rights, indiscrimination of minorities and minorities rights, the acknowledgement of Europe's cultural diversity, economic and social cohesion built through intercultural cooperation.

According to Giuseppe Vedovato the past few years have seen the rise of the danger of a deliberate volition--yet "discretely hypocrite"--that of establishing an absolute control over migratory flows, as well as that of setting procedures to be followed, all in the absence of a proper technology and proper financing. Geographically, the danger is that of witnessing the emergence of absolutely immunized world regions (of controlled and selected migration, regardless of the method in use) and that of transit and retention world regions (exported and de-localized migration control), and the emergence of one-way hermetic frontiers, North-South for instance (Vedovato 2011:2).The author moreover estimates that the European countries' models of integration are facing a crisis: "the proclaimed failure" of the German cultural pluralism (that of the integration model based on recognizing a certain level of cultural diversification within the public space, related mostly to the presence of Islam in Europe), the multicultural models of the Great Britain and Holland, whose premise is ius soli, the French model of yielding sovereignty in exchange for giving up on identity particularisms.. etc. As far as the Italian model is concerned, "nominally asimilationist" in Rezo Guolo's conception, and whose watchword is--observe the Italian laws and traditions, in the spirit of the Lombard League's "metoda forte", is defined as "assimilationisme bancal" (meaning that immigrants have to give up on their cultural, ethnic and religious identity, to stay hopeful of attaining citizenship). The Italian model, deemed an essentially disciplinary one, is an oftentimes uneven relationship, based on ius sanguinis (right of blood) that prevents most aliens from acquiring citizenship. "That assmilationism without real assimilation, that negative multiculturalism, that is, in fact, reused in its most hostile version, that of the identity enclave, and it is, at the same time, liable to cause future conflicts" asserts Vedovato (Vedovato 2011:4-5).

In his work "Demography and population sociology", Traian Rotariu describes the integration of newcomers in both "universalist societies, based on cultural unity" and "comunitarian societies, based on multiculturalism", as a process thereby the newcomers become "members of the new society, not only with the same formal rights, but also with real chances of attaining any social status, with an access to economic and cultural assets, with real opportunities regarding occupation and education, of political involvement at every level" etc. (Rotariu 2009:190). Observing that, however, there's a great difference between being aware that getting integrated is a necessity and the actual degree of integration, W. A. Cornelius and other authors name this phenomenon "the hypothesis of difference" (Ciobanu, Elvick 2009:95-96).

As concerns public debate, one may identify two major features that define the discourse on the European and international migration question. On one hand, there's the political and legal initiatives, aimed at maintaining the actual or potential migration flows at minimum levels, taking into account, obviously, the refugees question, which became a major priority on the European political agenda, particularly in the event of the recent North African revolutions. On the other hand we observe a more radical position from groups that view immigration on the European continent as a dangerous phenomenon, that must consequently be stopped: "Immigration is therefore portrayed as a dreadful plague that must be rapidly vanquished, before it's too late"(Martiniello 2006:298). The "economic threat" in particular, attributed to immigrants, is most frequently presented as an "imminent fault" of the migratory process, in both the scientific discourse and public proclamations. The immigrants and their descendants are oftentimes held accountable of the fact that they steal the indigenous people's jobs, and that they benefit unjustly and in some cases even through fraud of the developed countries' systems of welfare. The "social threat" is also considered an important consequence of the migratory act, and it is deemed to be conducive to trans-frontier crime. The latter is a characteristic mostly associated with the next generation of immigrants, that commit crimes in populous urban areas. Violence demonstrations in major European cities, such as London, Berlin, and Zurich in 2011, are strengthening that perception.

Regarding the evolution of immigration policies, they went from labor force recruitment by the Northern and Western European countries in the 1950s-1970s, that represented an immediate response to market pressure, to efforts of stimulating the recurring migration, or of integrating migrants, throughout the 1970s and the 1980s. Migration policies are mostly classified according to types, rather than taking a more discerning approach upon the notion of migration. Some forms of migration, such as that of skillful, highly qualified workers, are often stimulated, upheld and even made easy. Thus, after the 1990s, the European countries showed greater interest in workforce migration as a means of meeting the demand for skillful, specialized laborers and to counteract the negative demographic growth. Such forms of migration, as are asylum seekers, are oftentimes the target of restrictions coming from the EU countries.

In his book, Managing rapid and Deep Change in the Newest Age of Migration, Demetrios Papademetriu explains why governments encounter difficulties in implementing their migration policies. In the circumstance of negative population growth and of economic demand, it is interesting to notice how politicians are adjusting their arguments to present-day social realities, jumping from an anti-immigration discourse to a immigration- supporting one. Even though in the aftermath of the Sept 11 attacks both the United States and the European countries shut their doors on migration, that did not diminish the pressure exerted by the latter. Demetrios G. Papademetriou, who presents migration as a priority issue on the domestic and international agenda, also considers that countries should: regain control over migration from the demagogic politicians who make use of the subject to reach their own political goals, and from the multinational corporations' unions who represent the economic interests of their countries of origin; be more candid and more transparent; explain to the public what they're doing and why they are acting in a certain way, seeking to launch a public national debate aimed at identifying migration policies that would maximize benefits and minimize cost; establish robust management systems properly financed and continuously re-assessed and re-adjusted; to understand and tackle the phenomenon in its complexity; to come up with proposals concerning immigration in connection with other questions and responsibilities, such as: social welfare, public order, education, development; to become market-oriented and civil society-oriented turning heated critics into partners in the effort of dealing with migration in a win-win situation (Papademetriou 2003: 39-56).


A study by the European Foundation for Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (2007), called Factors Determining International and Regional Migration in Europe was coming to the conclusion that, in the near future, the highest level of interest in migration would be pointed at countries like Estonia, Lithuania, Leetonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Cyprus, Malta.

The EU role in developing migration policies is a particularly important one. The policies regarding immigrants, that in the past were merely assessed by the society's capacity of integrating or excluding newcomers, now involves institutional characteristics analysis, and the respective institutions' actually taking actions (Geddes, 2003: 4-5).

The question of migration itself made the object of European, international and domestic legal regulation; European Council reports and conclusions, European Ministers Council meetings concerning immigration, conventions, additional protocols, resolutions, decisions, etc. National regulations differ, however, from country to country, especially as concerns the citizenship attaining legislation.

On July 20th 2011 The European Commission adopted the European Agenda for Integration of Third-Country Ressortissants. That would facilitate the immigrants' integration within their adoptive countries through participating in local communities daily activities. Well-adjusted immigrants are one of Europe's strengths "through added economic and cultural value to the society" is Cecilia Malsmstrom's, the European commissary for internal affairs, opinion.

Access to jobs and education, their socio- economic capacity of supporting themselves, a good command of their adoptive country's language, are all foundations for immigrants' successful integration.


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Simona VRANCEANU, University "Alexandru loan Cuza" of lasi, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Political Sciences

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Title Annotation:ORIGINAL PAPER; European Union
Author:Vranceanu, Simona
Publication:Revista de Stiinte Politice
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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