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People Moving in the Context of Environmental Change: The Cautious Approach of the European Union

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With growing evidence that environmental factors are becoming more and more important in driving migration, many different actors have taken position on so-called ‘environmental migration’ in recent years. Lately, also the European Union (eu) started to approach this topic. While it is still far away from offering a self-standing policy on the issue, the eu has started a process of deliberation with the publication of a Commission Staff Working Document (cswd) in April 2013. This article provides an overview of the related policy process and analyses which rationales are shaping it. It further pursues a stocktaking exercise with regard to existing eu asylum and migration policies and explores which roles the eu could play in the context of environment-related migration and displacement under the existing ‘repertoire’ of eu asylum and migration policy and analyses it in light of the newly published cswd. The paper concludes that the Commission takes in its cswd a very cautious approach and that the policy process was shaped by similar factors as the area of asylum and migration.

Affiliations: 1: Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human; 2: Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human RightsViennaAustria


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