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      Addressing Environmental Migration in the European Union Discourse

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            Revision notes

            Revisions were done to the first version of the article Addressing Environmental Migration in the European Union Discourse (now Environmentally Driven Migration in EU Discourse Norms, Policies, and Realities) based on the comments provided by the editor, as well as two fellow researchers.

            Formal changes made:

            • adjusted referencing style to Vancouver in accordance with UCL guidelines
            • language correction in accordance to British spelling and UCL guidelines
            • stylistic changes, e.g. aligning, spacing, fonts etc.

            Content changes made:

            adjusted title to fit the contents of the article´s body - now Environmentally Driven Migration in EU Discourse Norms, Policies, and Realities

            added more recent literature - mainly on the (critical) research done on environmentally induced migration and the issue of defining such persons (ontological and epistemological concerns)

            reiterated goal of the study throughout the main text

            added two figures showcasing the data corpus and discursive properties which were analysed in order to provide more details on the QDA that was conducted

            subjective normative observations were taken out of the text, e.g. what should be done

            Further comments:

            • Regarding the request of a more detailed explanation of the QDA - In previous external discussions about the article I received advice not to incorporate as many details about the methods used. Instead, I have been advised to focus mainly on the results. Consequently, I did not want to include extensive explanations about the QDA I applied. The two tables are offered as a middle ground, otherwise the text would become excessively long.
            • Regarding the question about research of the "social context" vs. "the factual" in the discourse - The two are inherently intertwined. Albeit I do acknowledge this comment, I argue that with discourse analyses (any communication analyses for that matter), it is not beneficial to focus merely on the "factual" what the data offer. Political communication of this sort does not appear in a vacuum, thereby the analysis would lose a lot of meaning if the "social context" was dropped. Simultaneously, focus merely on the context would be not be as valuable without the analysis of the "factual". Hence, I deem it important to retain both in the text as they inform and complement each other.

            Lastly, I have given a great deal of consideration to the reference on newer literature and included it in the article. Certainly, it has provided me a much broader perspective on this topic. I would therefore particularly like to thank the reviewer for this recommendation.

            With this, I hope to have answered all the comments and recommendations in the revision of the article.




            For decades, the European Union (EU) has been addressing issues related to climate change and ecological degradation as a self-proclaimed pro-environmental and human rights-oriented actor. Correspondingly, the topic of environmentally driven migration entered the EU discourse at the dawn of the new millennium. As such, environmental migrants around the world find themselves in an existential crisis and are in need of support whether it comes to questions of compensations, relocation, protection of cultural heritage etc. Thus, considering the EU’s interest in the human rights and environmental/climate issue areas, I argue it is important to ask what the Union’s approach to this matter has been. Consequently, this article assesses the European Union discourse related to the topic of environmental migration over a twenty-year period. Through the theoretical lens of the Copenhagen School of Security Studies and the normative power EU conception, this paper critically analyzes the EU’s securitization of climate change in relation to environmental migrants who are experiencing an existential threat to their lives. Based on a qualitative discourse analysis, the preliminary results imply that the topic has been receding into the background of the EU agenda. In line, environmental migrants have been pushed aside by a multiplicity of other subjects threatened by climate change, and their problems were thus not reflected in either the EU climate change or migration management policies. Overall, the findings show a shift from an alarmist discourse to pragmatism on the EU’s behalf. Thereupon, this article questions the normative standard the EU sets for itself when it comes to the case of environmental migrant protection.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            3 December 2023
            [1 ] Comenius University in Bratislava;
            Author notes
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            : 20 April 2023

            The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
            Political science,Environmental change
            Migration,Discourse Analysis,Normative Power,People and their environment,Climate Change,Politics of the environment,Securitisation,Climate change,European Union


            Date: 20 December 2023

            Handling Editor: Prof Dan Osborn

            Editorial decision: Request revision. The Handling Editor requested revisions; the article has been returned to the authors to make this revision based on the comments below:

            -- ​ The paper now has a focus on the factual aspects of EU views on "environmental" or "climate" driven migration and tracks the changes over time. The author has responded to the most detailed review by removing text that confused this important and interesting message.

            -- ​The paper would benefit from an additional paragraph at the end of  the introductory paragraphs. The editor-in-chief believes this would help the multi-disciplinary reader understand the framing and context of the paper better. This suggested text - or something similar and equivalent - could be inserted at the end of the introduction as a new separate paragraph: 

            "In this paper, the environment, and climate change in particular, are considered as potential underlying driving forces of human migration in the late 20th and early 21st century. This analysis of changing EU views and positions on such migration could help inform discussion on the topic of migration that currently affects many EU and non-EU countries. The topic remains one where it is difficult to agree on the influence of the environment on migration and in particular to quantify the degree to which different drivers are causative factors in migration  or even to decide clearly on what might be described as the proximal or distal causes of migration. Given the pace of climate and other kinds of environmental changes and stresses  it seems important to keep this issue of environmental factors in mind when formulating policies and approaches relating to migration."

            -- ​ The reference list needs some further attention. At present many of the journal references provide website listing urls and although the doi is often included some details of volume and page numbers are missing. These details may be important to readers who do not have good access to web resources and need to access material in more traditional ways. The UCL OE office will advise on what help can be provided centrally and what more the author needs to do.

            2023-12-20 14:01 UTC

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