Consular Affairs in the EU: Visa Policy as a Catalyst for Integration?

in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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Abstract

In recent years there has been increasing interest in the literature regarding the changes that European integration has meant for the external administration of the member states. This article seeks to contribute to this study through analysis of an area that has received little attention until now: the Europeanization of consular affairs in the field of visa issuance. The article analyses the common visa policy and discusses its consequences for member states' management of overseas consular affairs. The main conclusion reached is that this policy has been a catalyst for change in the working of consular services, which have become part of networks of intergovernmental cooperation and have been progressively informed by Community norms and procedures. However, it would be premature to say that this process of change is paving the way for the emergence of a European consular administrative sphere. For the moment, the integrated management of consular affairs in the field of visas continues to be a mainly state-controlled process.

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