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Ruben Zaiotti & Nafisa A. Abdulhamid: Inside Out and Outside In: COVID-19 and the Reconfiguration of Europe’s External Border Controls. [Abstract]

The extension of border controls beyond Europe’s territory to regulate the flows of would-be migrants is a popular – and highly controversial – policy approach adopted by European governments. The present paper examines recent developments characterizing the externalization of border management in Europe, paying particular attention to the changes that have occurred during the COVID-19 global pandemic. This represents a time when mobility has been severely restricted in most of Europe (and the rest of the world). The aim is to map the impact of the pandemic on relevant “externalizing” policy instruments (e.g., visas, extra-territorial patrolling and surveillance, external processing of asylum claims, and offshore detention of migrants) and to assess their future trajectories. The paper shows that during the pandemic, the externalization of border controls has expanded and adapted to the new conditions. As a result, some of the key dynamics that define this policy arrangement have been recreated internally, a phenomenon referred to here as the “internalization of externalized border controls.”

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