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Migration policy in Italy: Beyond closed ports

A comparative analysis of the migration policies of Italy and their influence on the EU

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Migration policy in Italy: Beyond closed ports

A comparative analysis of the migration policies of Italy and their influence on the EU

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the policy changes that Italy and the European Union (EU) experienced due to the EU migrant crisis. The European country that, besides Greece and Spain, has been most affected by problems of irregular migrant arrivals by the Mediterranean Sea, is Italy. The wave of migrants has increased the complexity of the border control management in Italy as one of the front line EU Member States, and challenged the effectiveness of their national asylum system. Whenever the national security of one of the Member States is in danger, an evolution of governmental policy follows directly. At the same time, this threat challenges the EU’s effective management of its external relations. Hence, the central question of this research looks closer at “In what ways did the Renzi government and Conte government in Italy between 2014 – 2018 respond to EU migration policy and to what extent has it changed the Italy-EU relationship?” In order to better understand the changes that the Italian governments have gone through in the years of crisis, various research methods were used to reach an adequate answer to this question. The information used in this research mainly originates from extensive desk research with parts collected through qualitative methods in the means of semi-structure interviews with Dutch diplomats specialised in Italian policy based in Rome. The findings of this research have shown that although the EU provided contribution, Italy was confronted by a lack of solidarity among other EU Member States and faced serious problems in its own legal asylum system because of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). These results proved that there was a certain case of influence on the Italy-EU relationship. As reaction to these intra-Union problems and the malfunctioning of the CEAS, the Italian government took its own diplomatic lead in protecting Italian borders and launched Mare Nostrum. This search and rescue operation pressured the EU to improve the decision-making over migration and to provide valuable assistance to Italian maritime forces. In this EU migrant crisis period the EU emerged as the ‘superpower’, yet for the greatest part it was Italy who took responsibility to tackle this crisis. These developments in the times of an influx of migrants led to the establishment of the current far-right wing and populist coalition that took back its sovereign and nationalistic stance in Italy. The Renzi government, with its morality and humanitarian perspective, aimed to rescue and welcome migrants in need of protection. The Conte government presents a complete opposite approach, and aimed for stricter measures and to ‘close the Italian ports’. Moreover, the enhanced cooperation of the EU in Libya was a step forward to assure EU’s active presence in its external relations. Therefore, the EU migrant crisis in Italy has undoubtedly inspired the EU to improve foreign policies. With the help of these changes, the Central Mediterranean route experienced, since 2012, the greatest drop in the numbers of irregular migrants by the end of 2018.

Toon meer
OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingMO Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2019
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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