The Politics of Egyptian Regional Migration: Examining autocratic cooperation processes in the Arab world

Gerasimos Tsourapas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


What is the impact of labour migration on autocratic regimes? This article argues that labour migration affects processes of cooperation between autocratic regimes of the sending and host states. It focuses on Egypt between 1970, when the Egyptian regime under Anwar Sadat began the process of liberalising its migration policy, and 1989, when the economic embargo imposed upon Egypt by the League of Arab States in response to the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty formally ended. It employs process-tracing in a broader qualitative methodological approach, where data are examined sequentially to draw descriptive inference and to disconfirm rival explanations. Primary materials are comprised both of semi-structured expert and elite interviews conducted in Cairo (n = 31), including current and former ministers, former Prime Minister Abdel Aziz Hegazy, and high-ranking government officials, and of emigration-related articles published in the three major, semi-governmental daily newspapers in Egypt (al-Ahram, al-Akhbar, al-Jumhuriya), and the non-Egyptian press. Through the case-study of Egyptian regional emigration, the paper demonstrates, firstly, that emigration is able to contribute to closer cooperation between authoritarian regimes and, secondly, that such cooperation is able to support the sending state’s ruling regime.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFortress Europe?
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges and Failures of Migration and Asylum Policies
EditorsAnnette Jünemann, Nicolas Fromm, Nikolas Scherer
Place of PublicationGermany
VolumeSpringer VS
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

An unprecedented number of people is currently on the move seeking refuge in Europe. Large parts of European societies respond with anxiety and mistrust to the influx of people. Nationalist, anti-migrant parties from Slovakia over Germany to the UK have gained increasing support among the electorate and challenge the political mainstream. Europe is struggling how to respond. While the search for solutions is ongoing one pattern seems to be emerging: Fortress Europe is in the making. Unfortunately, few of these discussions and measures consider the structural root causes and dynamics of migration, the motives of migrants or societal challenges more thoroughly. This book seeks to address this deficit. Taking migration and asylum policies as a starting point, it analyses the various dimensions underpinning migration. In doing so, it identifies why receiving countries are in many ways part of the problem. To eschew an overtly Euro-centric perspective and stimulate a debate between science and politics, it contains contributions by academics and practitioners alike from both shores of the Mediterranean.


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