As a result of increased mobilization, the EU has expanded its migration policies with the help of international organizations such as the IOM and UNHCR. These organizations have become more involved with EU’s ‘global approach’ to migration. In other words, expanding the reach of EU migration policies outside of its member states. Since its birth, these EU policies have included an extension of rules, norms and instruments to third countries.¹

The EU has used institutions to do this influential work, as Lavenex describes, with multilevelling strategies. These include correcting EU policy, outsourcing the implementation of its values, and more impactfully, transferring EU rules under the disguise of universal values that should be wished for internationally.²

This influence of EU values on third countries is known as the normative power of the EU. At this time, among the many controversies of having such a power, is the enforcement of migration and the colonial-like promotion of Europeanness.

Firstly, the IOM has become the body of the EU for managing deportations and fighting against illegal migration; among other international organizations. Much of this work has been framed around stopping migrant trafficking, which, while true, is a divisive manner of continuing to have the ‘upper-hand’ in controlling the physical removal of asylum-seekers.

Secondly, the EU — since the 1951 Geneva Convention — has promoted its values internationally as a building pillar of its policies. One of the plans of this convention include the EU-Morocco action plan: an area through which many refugees and other migrants access Europe. Although the plan does not reference the need to follow EU rules per se, it claims, once again, a universal goal of “the exchange of experiences” in the international agreement that was signed, as Lavenex describes.

Overall, we witness a EU system continue to develop with the legislative power of the European Commission and the network of organizations to which internationalization goals have been delegated to. This development is done through large increases in funds from the EU itself, the United States, Japan, and many others who foment, in this manner, the increase of EU’s normative power outside its borders without giving member-state ‘benefits’.

1. Lavenex, S. (2015): Multilevelling EU external governance: the role of international organizations in the diffusion of EU migration policies. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 42: 4, pp. 554–570.
2. Cheeppensook, K. 2020. “ASEAN in the South China Sea Conflict, 2012–2018: A Lesson in Conflict Transformation from Normative Power Europe.” International Economics and Economic Policy 17(3):747–64.

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