11 Oct 2023 - 10 Oct 2025
Europe, Other Regions, Trade, economic integration and globalization

In search of mechanisms linking the pseudo-causal narratives and policy outcomes: the case of the Trade-Development-Migration nexus in the EU’s approach towards the countries of its Southern Neighbourhood

The project will examine what causal mechanisms link the pseudo-causal policy narratives and policy outcomes in the European Union’s trade-development-migration nexus (hereafter, T-D-M nexus), and how they do it. To address this question, the project will focus on the narratives about addressing the root causes of migration through trade and development cooperation, produced by the EU institutions in reference to the countries of EU’s Southern Neighbourhood. The main objective of this project is thus to uncover the causal mechanisms and their scope conditions which link the pseudo-causal policy narratives and policy outcomes in the EU’s T-D-M nexus.

The project will focus on mapping the involved institutions and their narratives. This will involve the Narrative Policy Analysis, and collection of the necessary data through gathering documents, and conducting interviews with officials from relevant international institutions. Subsequently, the project will trace the process of linking pseudo-causal narratives with policy outcomes in the EU’s T-D-M nexus. This should allow for identifying and conceptualizing the causal mechanisms which were underlying this process. In this regard, the project will focus on two case studies which concern the EU’s T-D-M nexus in its approach towards Morocco and Tunisia.

Apart from the contribution to narrowing down the research gaps in literature, our better understanding of the project’s topic may be considered as a pressing issue in the debate on the EU’s approach to managing external migration. And since the EU’s response to the irregular migration from developing countries is a highly controversial, and often politically instrumentalized topic, the research will contribute to the improvement of the quality of academic and public debate about the use of development aid and trade instruments in this context. Besides, focusing on the initiatives within the EU-Southern Mediterranean relations can contribute to providing valuable insights about the most recent EU’s T-D-M initiatives towards its Southern Neighbourhood.

Project funding: National Science Centre (NCN) – “Sonatina” post-doctoral grant

Project leader: CASE