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      Environmentally Driven Migration in EU Discourse: Norms, Policies, and Realities

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            Revision notes

            In line with the editor´s recommendations the following changes were made:

            • addition of a new paragraph to the introductory section, specifying the contribution of the article
            • revision of list of references
              • alteration and addition of DOI (or stable URL) links to online sources
              • for academic literature volumes, numbers of issues and pages were reviewed
                if available these were added to complete the the references in the fullest extent possible
                still, not every publication contained such information (not even on the official websites of publishing houses)

            These changes are highlighted in the attached file.


            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 the so called environmentally driven migration entered the EU discourse at the dawn of the new millennium. 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. Thus, this article assesses the European Union discourse related to the topic of environmental migration over the past twenty-year period. Through the theoretical lens of the Copenhagen School of Security Studies and the normative power EU conception, this paper critically analyses the EU’s securitisation of climate change in relation to persons referred to as environmental migrants. 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, thus receiving lesser attention in the EU climate change and migration management policies. Overall, the findings show a shift from an alarmist discourse to more pragmatism on the EU’s behalf and a larger focus on adaptation and resilience in most affected areas. 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
            30 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


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