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The impact of narratives on EU policymaking


This report investigates the main migration narratives circulating on media, political debates, and policy venues within the European Union (EU) over the past decade. It focuses on two significant migration events: the 2015 "refugee crisis" and the 2022 activation of the Temporary Protection Directive for those fleeing Russian aggression against Ukraine. Specifically, the research aims to understand which narratives have shaped in the media, the EU political debate, and policymaking for each of the two cases, and assess to which extent and manner these have circulated across these three domains. To do so, it relies on a qualitative discourse analysis of more than a hundred texts produced by the EU institutions. This report presents the main results of such analysis. First, it provides an overview of the theoretical and methodological framework, and of the reflections that led to the case selection. Then, it offers a detailed analysis of the dominant narratives during the 2015 refugee crisis and the 2022 activation of the Temporary Protection Directive. Finally, it reflects on the circulation of narratives across the three arenas considered for the analysis, by paying attention to the pervasiveness and transformativity of these narratives, and ultimately evaluate their potential implications for policy output.

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