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Implementation of the EU Immigration Policy in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region: Towards a Framework for Policy Analysis

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AbstractFinland and Sweden along with other countries in the Barents region wish to increase migration, in-line with their labour demands and demographic changes. These states have reformed their economic and immigration policy so that migrants may contribute to their national economies. However, they receive far fewer numbers of immigrants than envisaged. There is a need for increased cooperation within Barents Region on immigration issues, including integration of migrants for utilizing its natural resources properly.The European Union is an important actor in the Barents Region. The European Commission has been a member of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) since the beginning of regional cooperation. Two out of four states are EU members, with Norway being part of the European Economic Area,1 meaning that many EU regulations are relevant for all Nordic countries, including Norway. EU policies can be also seen as models and examples of best practice. Moreover, EU-Russia cooperation and Northern Dimension may play a major role in agenda-setting for regional cooperation and major changes in EU-Russia relations (like a visa-free agreement) would have major influence on the situation in the region. This paper aims to investigate whether there is coherence in immigration policy and its implementation between Barents Region and the European Union, how the EU places itself within the existing actors and governance frameworks of BEAR, and which role it wants to take up in relation to the migration policy in the region. Finally, this paper aims to highlight the main barriers to implement the existing policies in practice.

Affiliations: 1: Sustainable Development and Northern Political Economy group, Arctic Centre, University of


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