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The borders of Europe

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From now on, borders are more articulated around police logics that are carried out at a distance based on security and surveillance systems. There is a transformation of border management policies around this modality.

Where are the borders of the European Union?[edit | edit source]

A European Union research group called "Challenge" deals with the transformations and challenges of the border. Today, in Europe, we are no longer in a linear border. The image of Fortress Europe is not fair. If there is an ethical problem with border practices, there are certain arbitrary and exceptional places that are problematic. As long as "borderization" practices are deployed, they have effects and in particular the de facto abolition between an "asylum seeker" and an "illegal immigrant". The country in which the asylum application is made is not required to be accepted, but there is the right to make an asylum application. In an attempt to reduce the distances between the Schengen area and its borders, the logic is fading. If the material possibility of making an asylum application is not possible, the categories are mixed between "asylum seeker" and "illegal immigrant".

Profiling logic based on visa policies is not a problem as such since 90% of people who apply for a Schengen visa obtain it. However, in the refusal rate, we realize that certain categories of population are emerging about refusal. This is linked to representations that are linked to individual and statistical logics. An individual logic is pastoral where it is up to the person to demonstrate that he or she has nothing to blame himself or herself for in order to have the right to move freely. However, it is not easy to escape a statistical category. This refers to the debate between freedom and security.

The European Union is reorganising its borders by making a distinction between those who can and those who cannot move. Within the European Union, within the framework of the Schengen area, borders have become invisible, while foreigners, i. e. persons outside the Schengen area who are non-EU citizens. The borders have not disappeared. One of the problems with freedom of movement, as long as some people are excluded, is a barrier to freedom of movement. There is a real inequality between the people who will enter the European Union.

The Schengen agreements were negotiated outside the European Union, but it was only after the Treaty of Amsterdam that Schengen was added to the acquis communautaire. Schengen, at the base, was set up as a compensatory measure to counter the problem that could arise from the movement of people. Schengen is a security measure, but it is a compensation measure. Schengen was first and foremost thought about illegal immigration. The way things have been set up highlights the fact that there has been a shift between the category of "illegal migrants" and cross-border crime.

Ri2 map visa needed.png

This map highlights the logic of borders with the creation of a hierarchy between countries according to the potential risk represented by people coming from these countries within the Schengen area. The initial idea is generous with free movement. The European Union as a political project had the aim of bringing people together. The emergence of compensatory logic calls into question the initial project. By creating this area of free movement, exclusion has been generated. It is not a normative representation, but a descriptive representation based on compensatory measures.

Ri2 map border ue fortress.png

The discriminatory problem highlights a hierarchy of countries. As there is a gradation between different people on the degree of legality in order to be able to enter the European Union, the border may be located in different places. There is an outsourcing of skills. For someone who needs a visa, Europe's first border is a consulate or embassy issuing a Schengen visa. The border is no longer necessarily a distinction between inside and outside. Borders are no longer just lines, but can also be points. In fact, the logic of points and lines cohabit between them.

The Swiss integrated border management strategy [IBM]: the model of the four filters[edit | edit source]

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but a member of the Schengen Agreement, which is part of the area of free movement of persons. The question arises as to where Switzerland's borders lie. Switzerland is a project that is part of the project to create a European internal security area launched in 1999-2000 leading to the creation of an area of justice, freedom and security.

Integrated management of external borders.jpeg

The IBM Integrated management of external borders model is the Swiss border management strategy. This model is the extremely faithful application to Switzerland of the Stockholm programme that led to IBM's strategy at the European Union level. The Swiss borders are a filter model that is divided into four filters:

  1. Facilities in third countries: these are the staff of Swiss embassies. The Swiss border begins at the embassy. This may also be the case with customs liaison officers who are document advisors who integrate the Swiss border into the country of origin. These are migration attachés such as, for example, Swiss airlines, which is an actor in border management.
  2. External borders of the Schengen area: all Schengen States have an external border. The European agency in charge is the FRONTEX agency which gathers budgets in order to set up operations with military, police or customs resources. Switzerland is integrated into FRONTEX, sending customs officers and police officers to carry out external surveillance of European Union countries. Switzerland also cooperates with the competent agencies in Brussels to deal with and contribute to the management of the Schengen external borders.
  3. Traditional Swiss border: it is the old border, but also the airports. Information systems are set up in a logic where those who enter must show that they are legitimate to enter. This refers to the PMR agreement, which is an automatic exchange of information between all persons travelling between the European Union and the United States.
  4. Facilities in the interior space: this is within the territory in targeted places such as a station.

In the filter logic, we see that the whole world is almost open. The idea of globalization of security is being put in place, where the challenge of security is to be able to effectively determine who has the right to move and who does not have the right to move in order to manage these flows effectively. From now on, Swiss borders are just about everywhere and more where they were expected.

Switzerland is integrated into the conception of European internal security. The distinction between internal and external security has exploded. In Switzerland, the issue of security has merged between internal and external security for the benefit of those who provide internal security. Now there is an external dimension of internal security that refers to the logic of "homeland security". Europe and Switzerland are part of this merger between internal and external.

The relationship abroad can be twofold. Even if Europe is not a fortress, we are above all generating exclusionary logics. An integrative and inclusive machine generates exclusion above all.

Annexes[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]