More Power, Less Sympathy
The Response of IGOs in Western Europe to Unwanted Migration during Economic Crises Compared

Irial Glynn


This article chronicles the influence of intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) over unwanted migration in Western Europe since the 1930s. It pays particular attention to what occurred during times of economic crisis, especially the Great Depression in the 1930s, the recession-hit 1970s and early 1980s, and the current global financial difficulties. The IGOs under consideration are the League of Nations during the 1930s and the European Commission from the 1970s onwards. The European Commission’s ability to influence West European states’ policies on unwanted migration has grown considerably since the League of Nations’ unsuccessful attempts in the 1930s, especially in the lead-up to the current economic crisis. This increase in power has been offset, however, by a decrease in the European Commission’s sympathy as Brussels increasingly regards unwanted migration as a security and justice issue rather than as a social and cultural one in a move that bears close resemblance to the stance of West European states.


Great Depression; Unwanted migration; West Europe; Economic crisis; IGOs

Full Text:

PDF - PDF (Deutsch)

Copyright (c) 2012 Comparative Population Studies

© 2019 Federal Institute for Population Research