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Fortress Europe or Europe of Rights? The Europeanisation of Family Migration Policies in France, Germany and the Netherlands

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Abstract Are the restrictive reforms of family migration policy recently implemented in France, Germany and the Netherlands a result of the introduction of the Family Reunification Directive in 2003? Most existing literature on the Europeanisation of migration policies suggests that restriction-minded national governments shift decision-making to the EU level to escape domestic political and judicial constraints. However, as the Treaties of Amsterdam and Lisbon have empowered the Commission and Court to constrain restrictive reform, this perspective is losing analytical validity. Also, this perspective fails to capture the intensifying processes of policy transfer among Member States, which have inadequately been labelled ‘horizontal’ Europeanisation. We therefore propose a new, actor-centred analytical framework of Europeanisation. We show that contrasting yet parallel dynamics of Europeanisation may emanate from a single legislative instrument and may constrain and empower national governments at the same time.


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