Influencing the EU’s Foreign Policy on Asylum and Migration: Populist Political Dynamics and Cooperation with (Un)safe Third Countries

Ela Goksun

Global Politics Review
Vol. 3, no. 2 (October 2017): 26-38.
DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1238469
GPR ID: 2464-9929_v03_i02_p026
Received: June 29, 2017. Accepted: August 27, 2017. Published: October 30, 2017.

ABSTRACT: The rise of populism and its effect on the erosion of liberal values in the EU is a current prime focus in international politics. This paradigm shift also brings with it another important question related to the EU’s foreign policy priorities. Such an angle is of particular importance in the current international environment, where a multitude of exogenous factors are resulting in responses which appear to be rooted in political realism. The EU’s external policy towards the current asylum and migration crisis is one such example. The EU has opted for an increasingly inward-looking foreign policy that prioritizes cooperation with third countries as an exclusionary tool. Outsourcing the issue may appease the rising populist sentiments in the short term. In the long term, however, it raises questions about safeguarding the EU’s liberal values vis-à-vis using leverage to achieve cooperation with potentially unsafe third countries of origin and transit. This essay recognizes that populism at the central and national level in the EU is pulling the center further right and influencing public opinion. In turn, this is resulting in an increasingly closed and intolerant foreign policy. This essay acknowledges that international politics cannot be solely based on normative judgements. Going forward, however, the EU should balance a pragmatic migration strategy with the founding values of an open and liberal Europe.

Keywords: EU, Foreign Policy, Asylum, Migration, Liberalism, Populism.

Copyright by the Author.  This is an Open Access article licensed by Global Politics Review under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License Creative Commons License.

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