Migration, visa, readmission agreements and counter-terrorism are today at the heart of EU security practices in the Mediterranean. Over the last decade, and until the 2011 Arab revolutions, this external dimension of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) has been particularly prominent in the EU security practices towards the Mediterranean. Drawing from previous research, this article aims at identifying whether the Arab Spring constitute a critical juncture and whether it is possible to identify change or continuities in EU security practices. To do so, the first section of this article will look into what influences EU's schemata and cognitive frames. Then it looks into practices and the importance of state preferences and historical legacies. The study of the 2011-2015 migration 'crisis' will in particular illustrate how the reinforcement of selective patterns of engagement is taking place and how EU's internal security frames and interests remain the main driver of EU's security practices.
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