Public Ph.D defense of Sevgi Temizisler: Politicization of EU migration policies and its effect on European integration

Monday 21 June 2021, 10:00 to 12:15

The public defense of Sevgi Temizisler will take place on Monday, 21 June 2021 at 10h00, in an hybrid format.


The academic literature on European integration pays particular attention to the phenomenon of politicization. There is a consensus among scholars that politicization is an auxiliary input catalyzing differentiation and disintegration processes and impeding further integration. Yet, its ‘constraining’ effect on European integration might deviate from these assumptions, as the Eurozone crisis showed. Thus, the generalisability of much published research on this issue is problematic. This tendency to concentrate on the ‘constraining’ effect has led to a substantial gap regarding the broader analysis of politicization in different contexts and frames. This thesis aims to explore the changing nature of politicization in diverse contexts (through the intermediating factors under opportunity structures) and frames (trajectories) and its impact on various outcomes. A theoretical framework for assessing politicization in terms of opportunity structures and trajectories is presented for this purpose.

The empirical part of this thesis investigates the extent to which politicization of EU migration-related policies influences European integration, i.e., consequences of disintegration, differentiation, and status quo. Data were analyzed through claims-making analysis (Koopmans and Statham, 1999). Three case studies were examined: 1) The UK, 2) Denmark, and 3) Germany.

It is argued that politicization stems from an appropriate combination of intermediating factors, and its consequences change in line with its framing. In this regard, politicization remains limited, and no challenge to European integration is expected when migration-related issues are pictured as foreign problems in the remote conflict trajectory (as in the German case). On the other hand, domestic publics tend to reduce their support for the EU when migration-related issues are framed in the international conflict trajectory, i.e., as a conflict between their countries and the EU or ‘others’, such as other member states, migrants, and refugees (as in the British and Danish cases). Concerning the domestic conflict trajectory, this study shows that migration-related issues were discussed by large segments of the society with high polarization in domestic arenas during the refugee crisis in this framing. However, since the migration debates were not intensified in this trajectory in the case studies, no inference can be made with respect to its impact on European integration.

Please click here to register for the (digital) defense.


10:00 Welcome by Chair, Prof. Ilke Adam – Brussels School of Governance, VUB

10:05-10:25 Ph.D presentation

10:25 – 11:25 Ph.D defense by Sevgi Temizisler

Jury questions from:

  • Prof. Pieter de Wilde – Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Prof. Katjana Gattermann – University of Amsterdam
  • Prof Jonas Lefevere – Brussels School of Governance, VUB
  • Prof. Florian Trauner– Brussels School of Governance, VUB

11:25- 11:35 Q&A with audience

11:35 – 11:45 Deliberation

11:45 – 11:50 Conferment of degree

11:50 - 12:00 Speeches by Prof. Trisha Meyer and Prof. Jamal Shahin – Brussels School of Governance, VUB

12:00 – 12:10 Speech by Sevgi Temizisler

12:15 Closing