‘We are Facilitating States!’ An Ethnographic Analysis of the ICMPD

  • Sabine Hess
Part of the Migration, Minorities and Citizenship book series (MMC)


‘Where is the added value in the Budapest Process?’ This was the question senior policy advisor Irina Brezna1 addressed both to herself and to members of her audience — drawn from interior and justice ministries, police forces and secret services — at one of the countless conferences on the topic of ‘migration and border management’ taking place in Southeast Europe in 2007. This question went to the heart of my research interests. Irina Brezna is an old hand in the migration policy business — she had held responsibility for Slovenia’s adaptation to the immigration provisions of the EU. Shortly after the successful accession of Slovenia, she switched sides and began working with the Vienna-based International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in 2004. During the ‘arduous accession period’, as she described it, she came to appreciate ICMPD as one of the few European migration-related political organizations that had provided concrete assistance in managing that difficult process: ‘It was the ICMPD who provided us with knowledge. We relied on them completely.’ She made this point repeatedly during our conversations in ICMPD, where I was able to carry out field research in the years 2006–08. Once Slovenia had been accepted into the EU, Brezna left the ‘chronically understaffed national bureaucracy’ and moved to this much more ‘efficient’ intergovernmental organization, which was founded in 1993 upon the initiative of Austria and Switzerland.


Migration Policy Migration Management Informal Dialogue Irregular Migration European Neighbourhood Policy 
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© Sabine Hess 2010

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  • Sabine Hess

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