The (de-) politicization of EU freedom of movement: political parties, opportunities, and policy framing in Germany and the UK,

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    Freedom of movement (FOM) of EU citizens within the European Union (EU) has become a salient issue in some member states. In Germany and the UK, EU FOM prompted governments to tighten the residency and benefits prerequisites for EU migrants. Interestingly, these policy reforms prevented EU FOM from becoming a major political concern in Germany but not in the UK. Understanding the causes of this divergence can cast light on the driving factors behind EU de-politicization. Analysis of the UK case shows that several key factors, including rightist party ideology, political opportunity, and policy framing strategies, fuelled the country’s critical debate over its EU membership. By contrast, Germany’s successful de-politicization of the EU FOM issue can largely be explained by the absence of Euroscepticism in the government, limited political opportunities for mobilization, and the specific framing strategies used by the politicians who reformed EU FOM at the domestic level. Taking into account the existing scholarly work on politicization, this article provides an in-depth qualitative case study of the driving factors behind reactions to EU FOM in the UK and Germany, and discusses how to prevent the politicization of EU policy to turn into criticism of the EU polity level.
    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)631-650
    Aantal pagina's20
    TijdschriftComparative European Politics
    Volume17
    Nummer van het tijdschrift5
    DOI's
    StatusPublished - 1 okt 2019

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