Stress Test for the Policy-making Capability of Cross-border Spaces? Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Euroregion Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino
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This paper focusses on the role of border regions in the governance of refugee flows. By analyzing the political discourse with regard to refugees and asylum seekers in the Euroregion Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino, the paper evaluates the strength of ideational ties and of ideological frames for cross-border, policy-making capabilities in a contested policy field. The paper further develops the framing of the ideational dimension of cross-border cooperation by shifting the focus from the individual to the collective political level and from symbols to political discourse. Due to the favorable and institutionalized framework of cross-border cooperation, we assume strong ideational ties to increase the policy-making capability of border regions in the governance of migration flows independent from national frameworks. We show that regardless of the institutionalization of cross-border cooperation and frequent references to the Euroregion in the political discourse of all sub-state parliaments, the ideational frame for common actions regarding refugees and asylums seekers is eclipsed by the national context that continues to outweigh a local transnational identity. This hinders the capability of common policy making within cross-border regions. Nevertheless, we argue that border regions have the potential to fill a gap in the multilevel governance of migration by becoming mediators across borders and between states.
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