Deeper and Wider than a Common Space: European Union-Russia Cooperation on Migration Management
Works that address European Union (EU)-Russia cooperation within the overarching project of the common space of freedom, security and justice (FSJ) often look at this ‘space’ as if it were regarded by both parties as a naturally coherent field, where cooperation had to be developed evenly in all of the sub-fields. Consequently, this misperception often leads to the conclusion that EU-Russia cooperation on issues of justice and home affairs is rather unsuccessful because, on one hand, there is still no visa-free regime and, on the other hand, developments in the sphere of human rights and judicial reforms in Russia are far from being satisfactory. This article argues that in order to better appreciate the results of EU-Russia cooperation in the field of internal security, one should not analyse it in connection with EU attempts to promote human rights and democracy in Russia. Such constructivist – and somewhat idealist – view has prevented many researchers from a more pragmatic assessment that would take into account some real achievements of this cooperation that fit well with the commonly defined interests and goals in the sphere of internal security and migration management in particular. This article shows that both partners have managed to achieve much of what has been planned in the sphere of migration management. Moreover, through this cooperation with Russia, the EU has a chance to promote one of its most internationally visible instruments (readmission agreements) in Central Asia – a region where EU’s direct involvement has not been very successful.