Lena Laube: Diplomatic Side-Effects of the EU’s Externalization of Border Control and the Emerging Role of “Transit States” in Migration Diplomacy. [Abstract]

The externalization of border control has been a central feature of the European Union’s (EU) bordering strategy over the last three decades. However, in recent years there have been several challenges and contestations of this strategy. The short but notable breakdown of external border control during the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis raised awareness that the EU relies heavily on cooperation with countries in the wider region. Moreover, recent negotiations by the EU with these third countries over cooperative migration management have involved considerable concessions and have been marked by new types of responses from the countries concerned. To make sense of these new dynamics in international cooperation on border control, the current paper combines the concept of “migration diplomacy” (İçduygu and Üstübici 2014; Adamson and Tsourapas 2019a) with recent sociological accounts of the side-effects of globalization and modernization (Beck 2016; Lessenich 2016). In the logic of externalization, destination countries outsource border controls to other countries that are expected to function as “gatekeepers” (Wallace 1996). This political strategy has ultimately (though inadvertently) strengthened the position of so-called “transit states” in engaging in migration diplomacy vis-á-vis EU member states, thus resulting in a new phase of contested externalization.

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