Border management at the EU level experienced different processes and trends, including significant openness and de-securitization inside the Schengen area, and growing securitization at the EU’s external frontiers. This paper focuses on the latter to analyse instances of (in)securitization in the EU’s southern border: the Mediterranean. Overall, we identify a move towards the increasing securitization of EU border management that gains particular expression in the Mediterranean due to the way security threats are being constructed and addressed by the EU. We further contend this move to be contingent upon a particular understanding of threat that not necessarily contributes to the resolution of the root causes of security issues, thus risking becoming a source of insecurity to the EU’s various “others” (migrants, refuges). In order to unpack what we label as insecurity practices in EU border management, we follow a sociological approach to securitization, focusing on agency, context and power relations, to analyse EU operations in the Mediterranean (Frontex Operations, Operation EUNAVFOR MED Sophia and Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI). The goal is to shed light on how border management practices contribute to the definition of threat and insecurity, and consequently to a more securitised response, on the one hand, and to the aggravation of insecurities, on the other hand.
Keywords: Border management, European Union, (in)securitization
Vanda Amaro Dias | University of Coimbra, Centre for Social Studies, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Portugal
Vanda Amaro Dias is a researcher on Peace Studies at the research group of Humanities, Migration and Peace Studies at the Centre for Social Studies, and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, in the field of European Studies. She has teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including the supervisions of Master’s dissertations and the participation in academic degrees’ juris. She received her PhD in International Relations: International Politics and Conflict Resolution from the University of Coimbra. She has a Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations, with specialisation in European Studies, and a First Degree in Political Science and International Relations from the Nova University of Lisbon. Her research interests include peace studies, security studies, foreign policy, European Union, Russia and the post-Soviet space. She has published several book chapters and articles in national and international scientific journals on these issues.
Maria Raquel Freire | University of Coimbra, Centre for Social Studies, Faculty of Economics, Portugal
Maria Raquel Freire, PhD in International Relations from the University of Kent, UK, in 2002, is researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, at the Humanities, Migration and Peace Studies Group (NHUMEP), and Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra. She lectures at the undergraduate and graduate levels in International Relations, including the MA in Peace, Security and Development Studies, and the PhD in International Politics and Conflict Resolution. She is a Jean Monnet Chair and Coordinator of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the University of Coimbra (Peace Relations, Ontologies and Narratives in Europe: EU and its Eastern Neighbours | PRONE), involving colleagues from the Faculties of Economics, Arts and Science and Technology. She is also Visiting Professor in the Post-Graduate Programme in International Relations, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. She is President of the Assembly of the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra, and a member of the Scientific Council for Social Sciences and Humanities of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. Her research interests focus on peace studies, particularly peacekeeping and peacebuilding; foreign policy, international security, Russia and the post-Soviet space. She has published extensively on these topics.