Over the last five years the European Union has restructured its politics of border externalisation, increasing its bilateral agreements with third countries for the containment of migration flows and strengthening third countries’ collaboration on border patrolling, surveillance and interception, real time data sharing on border movements, as well as providing technical cooperation and training support at the external frontiers of Europe. The EU politics of border externalization in the field of migration management is nothing new and has characterized the EU spatial strategy of migratory flows’ containment since the 1990s. Recent initiatives further consolidated and strengthened this approach, including the Karthoum Process (November 2014), the European Migration Agenda (May 2015) and the LaValletta Summit (November 2015).
Yet, geographers’ attention to this topic has been so far limited. While the vision beyond externalization processes has been widely commented on in the early 2000s by geographers and more recently by political scientists and legal scholars, the implementation and new developments of the EU politics of externalization are still largely overlooked. In particular, what remains unexplored is the materiality of practices, activities and techniques through which border cooperation is enacted (e.g., EU training programs for third countries’ coast guards; provision and deployment of technical equipment for monitoring mingrant journeys and identifying migrants) and the new spaces that these activities produce at the external frontier of the EU. This panel mobilizes counter-mapping gaze on the borders of Europe and challenges the geopolitical map of Europe by investigating the bordering practices enacted away from the European territory. We wish to focus the conversation on the spaces of control and mobility that are the outcome of border cooperation between the EU and third countries. Our aim is to question the very notion of “externalization”, challenging the Eurocentric perspective that it implicitly conveys and documenting the spatial processes that are ignited at the external borders of the EU.
We invite contributions focusing on:
- The EU politics of externalization in the MENA region and in sub-Saharan countries;
- Critical geography engagements with the notion of "externalization";
- The spaces and spatial processes that emerge in the context of technical cooperation between EU member states and third-countries in the field of migration control;
- The new cartographies of Europe that emerge in border cooperation with third countries.