The interlinked questions of immigration policy, asylum, citizenship rights and anti-discrimination law are all currently high on the European agenda. I propose a two-year project to chart and understand the simultaneously cooperative and conflictual political processes taking place about these questions at the national inter-governmental and Commission levels. The aim of the research would be to investigate and uncover the mechanisms driving cooperation on these matters within European fora, or those hampering their development at the national level. Very different models of immigrant incorporation can be found across West European nation states, and agreement on common European policies and formulae is often at the mercy of national party political preoccupations. Despite this, a developing institutional logic in the sphere of legal and administrative cooperation is nevertheless beginning to produce some movement towards the EU's stated goals of harmonizing and extending European institutional provisions. In order to further pursue these goals, Policy makers thus need a better knowledge of the dynamics of achieving cooperative outcomes in this field. This offers a strong reason for a more political science "policy process' approach to the subject to supplement the predominantly legal studies about citizenship and anti-discrimination law that have so far taken place.
This research would locate itself in the on-going research projects of ERCOMER, which is the ideal base for a comparative, inter-disciplinary European study of this kind. The work would aim to be of direct relevance to current policy discussions and proposals within different arms of the EU concerning immigration and asylum policy, racism and xenophobia, and European citizenship.