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European migration policies: convergences and differences between borders' and migrants' security

European Politics
Migration
Security
Constructivism
Lisa Moroni
ISCTE-IUL Instituto Universitário de Lisboa
Lisa Moroni
ISCTE-IUL Instituto Universitário de Lisboa
Cátia Miriam Costa
ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

Abstract

According to the European Agenda on Migration promulgated in 2015, the two main goals of the policies developed to face the South European migration crisis were protecting the European borders and the fight against irregular migration. As a result, the borders have been successfully defended during the following years, showing a consistent decrease of irregular migrants arriving on the European coasts. We depart from the following research question: What are the EU's perceptions about borders' and migrants' security, and how do they reflect in EU's public policies for migration. This paper aims to analyze the dichotomy between the borders' security and the migrants' security, identifying how the first can affect the latter with negative externalities and how EU policies embody the disjunction of these two ways of perceiving migration security. The migrations' sustainability is often at risk because of governance dominated by the necessity of "closing the harbours", oriented towards the externalization of the migrants flows management and less developed around the human rights protection. We base our study on two different parts. The first is a deep dive into European legislation. This analysis focuses on the discourse of the official documents as a critical factor impacting the criminalization of the migrant and, consequently, the European defensive approach adopted. The second results from the study case about the central Mediterranean route, occurring between Libya and Italy. We begin by revising the bilateral agreements, following the analysis of the situation in the overcrowded detention centres, the repeated shipwrecks, and the humanitarian drama involved. Then, we discuss how the EU legislation had a profound effect on this particular situation.