From the euro to the Schengen crises: European integration theories, politicization, and identity politics

Tanja A. Börzel (Freie Universität Berlin) & Thomas Risse (Freie Universität Berlin) Photo by Jan Pauls (2012)

Recent years have been marked by anything but smooth sailing for the EU and its member states, with the fallout from the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the union yet to fully emerge and credible challenges arising from the euro and Schengen crises that have rocked the foundations of European integration. With regard to the latter two, the products of these crises could not be any more different, as the euro crises has ushered in new supranational institutions and strengthened existing ones, whereas the Schengen crisis laid bare the EU and member states’ inaptitude to update – or at the very minimum save – their common migration and asylum policies. In their article “From the euro to the Schengen crises: European integration theories, politicization, and identity politics” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Tanja A. Börzel and Thomas Risse unpick this puzzle and demonstrate that existing theories of European integration can only partially explain variation in European responses to these crises. Contending that debates surrounding the two crises have been framed in fundamentally different terms, solidarity within the European community in the context of the euro crisis contrasted by an ‘Us against them’ notion on migration and asylum policies, Tanja and Thomas also zero in on the role of politicization. Here, they highlight the importance of the crises’ sequence, with efforts to depoliticize the euro crisis coming back to haunt the EU when dealing with an unprecedented influx of migrants and refugees, suggesting that “[d]epoliticization through supranational delegation has ultimately led to more, not less politicization”.