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Circular Migration and New Modes of Governance: So What Are the Consequences?

Ian Barnes, Cristina Cherino

Circular migration is one of an array of new modes of governance which started to emerge in the 1990s in response the view that many of the EU's traditional modes of governance had proved ineffective. In this particular case it starts from the premise that no single actor has the power to solve the problem of migration across the internal and external borders of the EU and deal with effectively with multilevel actors. The nature of the interdependent world means that in order for policy to be enacted effectively there is a need for cooperation between across borders and between the different areas of governance. However, this cooperation comes at a cost because of the very nature of the compromises that are required to make it work effectively. This paper concerns the movement of seasonal workers between third countries and the EU with a special emphasis on the case of short-term migration from Morocco to Southern Spain. It challenges the "triple win" hypothesis and demonstrates that, whilst appearing to be even handed and respecting the human rights of the participants, it achieves its effectiveness by ignoring the rights of individual workers and has created a system which strongly favours employers. Circular migration schemes have also proved difficult to replicate because each members state has its own issues. Finally, many of the aspirations concerning the ability of these schemes to create a stable migration environment have not been achieved in the teeth of the recession.

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