United in Diversity? Immigration and Opposition to European Integration
The forces and processes of globalization have led to regional integration in certain areas around the world. The European Union (EU) presents the most deeply integrated institution with a system of multi-level governance. The deepening and widening of the European integration project has fostered immigration between member states by creating a single market and dissolving internal borders, which allows European citizens to move unrestricted within the Union. The EU has also made some moves towards greater policy harmonisation on external immigration and refugee and asylum issues. However, since the 1990s the EU has been faced with increasing opposition or Euroscepticism, to the extent that a member state is now withdrawing from the Union. Anti-immigration attitudes have become intertwined with Euroscepticism as the EU aims to further liberalise EU migration and coordinate external immigration policies. Immigration appears to be undermining the developments of integration as many citizens do not like the negative effects of accepting newcomers and feel as though migrants are being forced upon them by Brussels. This thesis adds to the growing literature on Euroscepticism and explanations of opposition to the EU by exploring how opposition to integration and opposition to immigration relate to one another. By doing so this thesis answers the question: does immigration undermine public support for European integration? The research question is answered by investigating the role of immigration in explaining the Leave outcome of the 2016 EU membership referendum in the UK, and examining public opinion towards integration and immigration in the EU-27 in the aftermath of Brexit. The findings of this thesis reveal that anti-immigration attitudes have become deeply intertwined with Euroscepticism. Immigration was central to the Leave vote in the Brexit referendum both in terms of internal EU migration and refugee policy. While internal EU migration is not politically salient in the EU-27, the refugee and migrant crisis has been a divisive issue and cultivated opposition to European integration.
Advisor: Headley, James
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Politics
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Europe; EU; Immigration; European Union; Euroscepticism; Brexit
Research Type: Thesis