Between 2009 and 2010, five Western Balkan countries were granted Schengen visa exemptions by the EU for the short travel of their citizens to the Schengen area in return for signing readmission agreements. Turkey, in contrast, was only offered a vague promise for the initiation of a visa liberalisation “dialogue” in return for initialling the readmission agreement. Taking this development as a genuine research puzzle the present article asks: What are the domestic dynamics that have driven this differential outcome? This article argues that the EU’s ongoing restrictive visa regime towards Turkey stems from the issue’s securitisation in certain member states (Germany, Austria and the Netherlands). Security-framing practices thereby occurred in both the political (elite-level discourse) and bureaucratic arena (visa-issuing process) as part of the same security dispositif. Two crucial implications follow from the findings: on the one hand, European visa authorities seem to follow their own visa-issuing policies despite regulations put in force at the EU level (Visa Codex). On the other hand, the purported theoretical divide between the Copenhagen and Paris School’s approaches to securitisation seems empirically rather disadvantageous. Treating these theoretical lenses as distinct may lead researchers to miss out on interrelated securitisation practices.
EU External Affairs; Securitisation Theory; Schengen Visa Policy; Turkey-EU relations
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