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“Crisification” as (Migration) Governance: Insights from the EU External Border

European Union
Governance
Migration
EU11

Tuesday 15:00 - 16:30 BST (17/10/2023)

Abstract

Speaker: Violeta Moreno-Lax, Queen Mary University of London Discussant: Nick Vaughan-Williams, University of Warwick This paper will uncover how ‘crisification' has permeated the EU migration and external borders acquis (and led to its securitisation) becoming a system of governance in its own right. The speaker will argue that the externalisation, violence, and coercion, characteristic of EU border controls, is a consequence of 'crisification', which produces very distinct corroding effects on the legal protections of refugees and migrants. Drawing on the EU-Turkey Statement and the reaction to the 2021 Belarus ‘crisis' as illustrations, the speakers main contention is that the presentation of migration and asylum events as ‘crises' has been utilised in the EU not only to justify measures and practices outside the bounds of ‘normal' politics but that it has also targeted and fundamentally transformed the law as well, allowing for legalised expansions of power and for contractions of pre-existing legal safeguards, leading to the re-configuration of the EU legal order in this field. The paper will demonstrate how invocations of ‘crisis' enable the normalisation of legal and policy developments at odds with basic principles and international standards. Two complementary phenomena demonstrate the impact of ‘crisification' on the borders/migration law system: The ‘softification' of existing hard law obligations, on the one hand, which translates into the lowering (or negation) of the individual's legal safeguards, and the progressive hardening – or ‘lawification' – of means and practices previously considered unacceptable, on the other hand. These two poles (the ‘softification' of existing hard-law protections and the ‘lawification' of violations) constitute the extremes of a continuum that is nurtured, enabled, and expanded by ‘crisification' as a mode of governance. The final effect is an erosion of the existing standards that fundamentally transforms (and disfigures) the EU legal and policy framework regarding access control and border surveillance.