The interaction between crisis and integration in the context of the European Union has been a topic of interest since the early beginning of its existence. By drawing on both integration and securitization theory, this research aims to study the link between integration and through collective securitization processes. Collective securitization poses an interesting concept as it includes the possibility of an international organization functioning as an autonomous securitizing actor. Within the model of collective securitization, two variants of collective securitization are differentiated. Within the thin variant the EU does not act as a securitizing actor in its own right, but is rather seen as the securitizing voice of its members, whereas in the thick variant the EU enjoys its own right of actorness in the securitization process. In a new conceptual framework, these variants are linked through the level of autonomy of supranational institutions. The thick variant presupposes a higher level of autonomy for the supranational institutions leading to enhanced integration. Contrarily, the thin variant presupposes a low level of autonomy, leading to weakened integration. To effectively study the link between integration and crisis through securitization the case of the migration policy crisis of 2015-2016 is analysed. Migration is often subject to securitization processes. Moreover, integration has been hard in migration policy, especially in the internal dimension. In a process tracing analysis of four policy cases the variants of collective securitization are identified. A special emphasis is put on the voting mechanism, the influence of Member States and the involvement of the supranational institutions. Moreover, the policy cases are differentiated for the internal and external dimension of migration policy. The analysis illustrates that the thick variant is found in the case of the Relocation Scheme and the establishment of the European Border and Coast Guard, whereas the thin variant is found in the case of the revision of the Schengen Borders Code and the EU-Turkey Deal. Key findings suggest that the thick variant requires voting under QMV, an observation-based approach by Member States and an active involvement of supranational institutions in the process. The thin variant is found in cases where no voting occurred, the Member States took a participation-based approach and the supranational institutions were not actively involved. Although the thin variant was expected to be found in the internal dimension and the thick variant in the external dimension of migration policy, this was not supported by the cases.

Dr. Asya Pisarevskaya, Dr. Asya Zhelyazkova
Public Administration
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Savannah ter Horst. (2021, June 24). Thin or Thick Collective Securitization?. Public Administration. Retrieved from