Research

Doctoral Research: The Formation of the European Migration Regime, 1947-1992



During my doctoral research, I immersed myself into the archives of the OECD, the Council of Europe, and the European Union. I managed to have declassified a large number of documents and files on European negotiations. This allowed me to maintain my methods of historian and at the same time cover in my dissertation recent developments. I also examined the national archives of the French Ministry of the Interior, the French Presidency of the Republic under Francois Mitterrand, the German political archives in Berlin, and official publications (European Commission and Parliament, World Bank, and United Nations).   

Few historians had so far studied the history of the European migration regime. On the basis of my investigations, my contribution to the field is to demonstrate the leading role Germany played in the construction of this European migration regime. I also grounded my argument on international relations theories. The international migration regime in Europe, I explain, is the result of situations of reciprocal interdependence between European countries. The gradual construction of a European migration regime stemmed from the necessity for Germany to create in Western Europe a stable international order after the Second World War, conducive to German reunification and the end of the Cold War. I substantiate how the Germans made the migration regime a central dimension of this international order, which it was not at the end of the Second World War. In the meantime, I show that this regime is the fruit of a series of successive constructions, fragile and temporary equilibriums, attempts and mistakes, compromises and approximations.  

Following the initial uncertainties after the war, from 1947 to 1955, the dissertation details how the new regime gradually developed, centered on Western Europe, excluding overseas colonies, and trying to find a balance between countries, but also, between social groups within countries. The narrative culminates in the period from 1984 to 1992, when the Schengen agreements were developed. I evidence their close link to the single market (free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital). This was also the period of the definition of European citizenship, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rising demand for asylum to Europe, and the Dublin agreements. The dissertation shows how the European migration regime stabilized after this period.    My thesis ends with a theory of open migration regimes, which I intend to put in a separate paper and submit to a journal of international relations theories. My theory fills a gap in the literature and is more satisfactory than the previous one I discuss.  My point, heavily influenced by the theory of hegemonic stability,  is that such regimes become possible under certain economic conditions, but are really implemented when geopolitical factors force to such arrangements.  


Grants

September 2015-August 2016: € 25,000, Max Weber Fellowship, European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

September 2014- August 2015: € 25,000, Max Weber Fellowship, European University Institute, Max Weber Programme

September 2009-August 2012: € 72,000, Doctorat contractuel, Université Paris-Sorbonne, Department of History


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