Europe’s borders


By Bernd Kasparek
Since the outbreak of civil war in Libya, and thus exposed to the cooperation of Libya with Italy for the purposes of prevention of undocumented crossings gene Italy Europe looks back on the Mediterranean. Like every year the media report on overcrowded boats, where refugees and migrants make their way in the hope of protection and a better life in Europe. And like every year the media report how many of these trips end with the death of inmates. In the first half of 2011 alone provided more than 1,400 deaths in the delta Tunisia, Libya and Itallie were counted.

The critical public debate is like under the heading of “Fortress Europe”. Europe jock off, access to asylum and protection is too often a deadly endeavor. While all this is true, the metaphor of ‘Fortress Europe’ still a major weakness. Speaking about the Fortress Europe suggests an institutional homogeneity, simply assumed the existence of a closed political apparatus that relentlessly pursues the perfect foreclosure Europe.

Such a political conception of European migration policy can only serve but then the denunciation of the many scandals that produced the current policy actually. But where to begin a critical public debate to denounce not only just, but to bring about a revolution of the inhumane policy? So there must be a matter of understanding the demarcation process of the European Union better to open with the knowledge of conflicts and competing conceptions of scope for a critical intervention.

Schengen external border

since the 1980s, there was more to migration and refugee movements, which originated outside Europe. The new immigrants were, however, remains a rugged legislative landscape in which some Member States of the European Union (EU), irregular immigration, de facto tolerated, while others sought to protect national labor markets and had strong differences of asylum legislation. As a reaction, developed a tendency in Europe to consider undocumented migration as a problem and put her to want to meet a common solution.

1985, representatives of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg in Luxembourg spa Schengen Agreement of the same name. Whose content was to dispense with checks at common borders and in turn the outer border to protect the newly constructed Schengen area. The movement in this area should therefore be reinforced with a border security coupled with the so-called third countries, ie countries outside the Schengen Agreement.

The first Schengen Agreement so marked the birth of the European external border as an institution and they went hand in hand from the start with the defense of flight and migration movements. The practical implementation of this idea would still take another decade. It should be noted here that the only inter-state, ie international agreements of Schengen outside the EC framework have taken place and were integrated until the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam in European law in the EU.

1990, signed the Schengen II, in which the concrete procedures of implementation of the Schengen Convention in the legal, but especially technical terms were defined. In 1991, the Maastricht Treaty into force, marking the founding of the EU and introduce a three-pillar model. With the integration of migration policy in the third column, this finally arrived at the European level, although always under the sign of the defense and the fight of flight and migration, and involvement of the Member States. The timing of this development coincides with the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the advent of war in the Balkans and further increased migration from countries outside Europe. In the early 1990s, several million people within and towards Europe on the road, and the newly established EU is working together with its Member States had to close their borders.

In Germany, for example, this led to the asylum compromise of 1993, who introduced the concept of safe third countries and the extraterritoriality. The concept of safe countries of origin and third countries joined now by the people because of their origin of asylum law: asylum applicants from a “safe country of origin” were denied the right of asylum per se. It was also all other persons who entered via a so-called “safe third country” after Germany denied – no matter what the human rights situation there really looked like. The argument that an asylum application could just as in the safe third country can be made, became the basis for the immediate return of that person shift in the third State. The asylum compromise that already contained three essential elements of future EU migration policy: 1 Criminalization of migration, 2 Advancement and upgrading of the border and third the concept of extraterritoriality, that is the postulation of a border area outside the territory of the European Union, where migration may indeed be run defenses, but apply the national laws, European regulations and international agreements protecting human rights is limited.

In 1995, the Schengen Agreement, now with other countries, actually in force. Border controls between member countries fell in 1997, in exchange for securing a portion of an up not previously existent common external border, 2000/2001 and 2007 there were further waves of enlargement, which led to the Schengen area approached little by little the EU territory. Only with Schengen, the EU’s external border a practical reality and preserving it an increasingly important task, which is treated more and more from the European level, even if the formal sovereignty continues to rest with Member States. The enormous importance of securing the border and thus belongs to the European territoriality, is illustrated by the fact that the implementation of the Schengen Agreement was one of the first conditions for accession to the EU and is always.

From 1998 the process of bringing forward the EU’s external border is picking up speed. The Action Plan for the first time Iraq is the containment of refugee flows in the region of origin and the integration of the transit countries, migrants traveling through the (primarily Turkey and the Balkans) in the defense of refugees practiced. Other action plans will follow (Morocco, Albania, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan). 1999 will be held with the deployment of Italian police, border guards and the military in Albania to prevent a precedent of extraterritorial migration securing the border. 1999 The Treaty of Amsterdam enters into force, with the start of the next transfer of the Schengen Convention into EU law even closer cooperation between police, customs and judicial cooperation in migration and asylum issues. About the creation of a five-year plan for the harmonization of asylum procedures and defense of migration is also trying to take political influence.

The momentum from 2000 is primarily determined by the so-called G5 group (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Great Britain). Represented in it are the interior ministers of these countries. Your goal is to break the blockade by advances in the EU internal policies. The G5 group of countries to get involved and consequently also strong in Frontex, the European border protection agency. 2000 Germany and Italy beat up the first time before an EU border police force, and this proposal is strongly supported by Spain. 2001, the Ministerial Council in Laeken, the proposed construction of an EU border guard.


In 2002, the European Commission, the paper Towards integrated management of the external borders of the member states of the EU before, which is taken up with the idea of European border security agency and further refined. Although opposed to the EU Member States from this idea, but on 26 October 2004 adopted by the Council of the European Union Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004 on the establishment of Frontex, the European border protection agency. The martial-sounding name refers to the French term for external borders, frontières extérieures. The agency does its work in 2005, in their headquarters in the Polish capital Warsaw. It is staffed by the now nearly 300 employees, the majority coming from the border protection apparatus of one of the EU Member States. The agency ordered in 2010 to around EUR 90 million issued to two-thirds of operational processes.

Thanks to the legal status as a European agency Frontex is relatively autonomous. The European Parliament has essentially only en bloc over the budget, the actual control is exercised by the Board in the next two representatives of the European Commission by a / s representative of the EU Member States and non-EU Member States in the Schengen agreement (eg Switzerland, Norway, sit). So that Frontex is moving at an intermediate level: as a multilateral organization, it is neither a thoroughly European institution nor a member state, it is rather for the gradual Europeanization of the border regime in Europe.

In this sense, Frontex itself hardly involved in the actual monitoring and control of the border, and this finding also raises the public work of Frontex, particularly from. Frontex itself also did not have the appropriate personnel. The sovereign task of securing the border remains with the border guards of Member States. The task of Frontex enforcement especially, is coordinating the cooperation of the border police forces of EU Member States, as indicated also the long name of the Agency: European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders. To this end, the various tasks are summarized in the agency.

Frontex is a continuation of the invention, the European external border, which it now applies also to enforce and govern. Frontex is therefore a further materialization of a further hardening, caused by the limit in the first place as a political institution. In the so-called “risk analysis” collect and assess Frontex is happening at the border to go to a new development in the border crossing to detect so when crossing the border, on the other hand, predict the development of irregular migration to Europe. Frontex is also in the research field and in the training of border guards inside working in Europe. Especially the latter is more in the future lead to a harmonization of the European border protection practice. To this end, FRONTEX developed courses and curricula that are taught at national and European police academies.

The main activity of Frontex, however, is undisputed in the operational area. Mostly initiated by Frontex find in various places in the outer limit so-called “Joint Operations” instead, where border guards patrolling units of the Member States have a shared border. The best known example is “Operation Hera ‘, become the first and most extensive operation of Frontex. Your goal is to prevent irregular migration in the western Atlantic, starting from Mauritania and Senegal. The operation started in the Canary Islands, where essentially interviewers were used to identify migration routes. Quickly, however, the operational aspect came to the fore thanks to bilateral agreements in Spain, it was possible the operation, patrolling the coastal waters of the two African countries with their own ships and intercept migrants and return to shore. This operation lasted only a few weeks early, so they will now take place all year round and has blocked this route effective. Spanish newspapers report back by the massive destruction of the crossings.

Contrary to the often expressed suspicion Frontex would also be responsible for the practice of illegal deportations back to Libya in the Mediterranean, this is not the case. Although there were exactly in this area, an operation of Frontex (the “Nautilus”), but this was a success both because of the lack of cooperation of Libya and partly because of disputes between Malta and Italy, who did not receive the intercepted migrants. Italy has single-handedly-ward the western Atlantic model of Frontex, the border control, copied and used. Basis is the so-called Libyan-Italian Friendship Treaty of 2008, when Italy apologizes for the crimes of the colonial era in Libya, and cleared the way for a Libyan-Italian regarding cooperation agreements against immigration. As a consequence, at the crossing from Libya bound refugees and migrants from Libyan territory and accepted that Italy intercepting refugee boats on the high seas and their occupants without delay – particularly without a vulnerability test – pushed back to Libya.

Although this practice was widely criticized because it violates the prohibition against refoulement to the Geneva Convention, that the prohibition against the deportation of asylum seekers in a country where they are threatened with harm to life and limb. Nevertheless, the approach of Italy from other EU member states welcomed or tolerated, at least implicitly, while the EU Commission tried to negotiate a similar agreement for the entire EU. At this point shows that the asylum policy in the EU is not guided by human rights considerations, but follows a foreclosure imperative. It is also visible, as are post-colonial power relations and spin states of transit migration have gained a new pledge to negotiate with the existing power blocs.

Dublin II, migration and asylum policy

In addition to the continuous expansion of border protection and the advancement of the border will be the subject of a European common asylum and migration policy through the history of EU integration. Has received since the Commission by the Treaty of Amsterdam in the policy field, some say, it gave itself varied initiatives that have failed, but by and large. It appears that the EU Member States have only one interest in cooperation in the repression. So it is no wonder that the only way to control a European harmonization of asylum law dealing with when an EU member state must not carry out asylum procedures, the so-called Dublin II Regulation. Also, she went from a contract outside the EU framework (the Treaty of Dublin) was produced and subsequently inserted into the EU legal order.

The Dublin II Regulation, in essence, the argument relies on the safe third country in the EU-European framework. It says that one EU member state that has one entry / any actual or potential asylum applicant / Complainant caused (the polluter pays principle), is also responsible for carrying out the asylum procedure. This may mean, for example causing the award of a visa, but also the non-prevention of undocumented immigration. Dublin II has now become a bureaucratic monster, on the basis of which refugees and migrants who seek their salvation in an asylum application, be deported across the EU. For example, make Dublin II deportations from 40% of all deportations carried out in 2009 in Germany.

It is obvious that carry the EU countries that have a large share of the external border, asylum applications have much more. At present, mainly in Greece, once a country of emigration, the goal of most Dublin II deportations. There takes place a large proportion of irregular entries into the EU. Although Greece is a member of the EU, but very few refugees and migrants who intend to settle there. The desire to travel further in the countries in central and northern EU is, in the immigrant population of Greece, virtually omnipresent. But without citizenship and / or EU residence permit, the EU does in fact constitute a Europe of borders: between Greece and the north are many boundaries, crossing it is not trivial, but also holds many dangers: on the one hand, there is always the possibility of discovery and Apprehensions, which inevitably shift back and sometimes leads to (re) internment, the other lurking dangers to life and real life, and this is not just at the outer boundary, but also within the EU.

Meanwhile, the goal of a unified EU immigration and asylum policy was back again, this time moved on in 2012. A newly created agency, the so-called asylum support office based in Malta is to pave the way for it. But much has been, despite all the announcements, not done. There are currently just the dishes, put the question whether there is a European asylum policy, which pursues a clear single goal to prevent applications for asylum, in line with self-proclaimed human rights principles ( see the essay by Klaudia Dolk in the dossier ).

The countries at the external borders have been calling for a new and more just configuration of the Dublin II Regulation. However, this is blocked primarily by the German government vehemently.


12 years after the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty, the European Union has made ​​hardly a step towards a uniform asylum and migration policy. Although three directives some approximation of conditions in the various Member States have brought about, but the living reality of the refugees still differ considerably. While refugees in Germany to fight against their shelter in camps and the tutelage of the immigration laws, refugees in Italy, Greece and other countries are acutely exposed to homelessness and absolute need, often despite refugee recognition.

Basically, the European asylum and migration policy of the Member States dominated in the north, put their focus on the prevention of migration and refugees as much as possible and offer no refuge to. A policy, which is dedicated to the welfare of refugees, and of respect for migrants is still not in sight in Europe.

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