ORGANISERS: SABINE HESS (University of Göttingen) , LENA KARAMANIDOU (Glasgow Caledonian University), BERND KASPAREK (University of Göttingen)

Border management and border policies are both amongst the most contentious, as well as the most Europeanised areas of this larger policy field. To this end, the policies and practices of border management in the European Union are constantly contested and re-negotiated by a multiplicity of actors, and on different scales. The former involve the institutions of the European Union, its agencies, Member State governments and their apparatuses, as well as intergovernmental and non- governmental organisations, while the latter range from the concrete border sites to the scale of the nation state and beyond to the European Union.

We will explore how border management in the European Union has changed since 2012 and especially since 2015, with a particular emphasis on case studies in how border management in the European Union has been shaped between 2012 and 2017, and by whom. Concerning actors, the panel especially focuses on papers addressing the European Commission and EU agencies such as Frontex, the role of Member State governments, the UNHCR, as well as NGOs. Some papers contribute country-specific case studies covering the above mentioned actors, while others focus on one particular actor.

Abstracts & Bios

Protecting life by investigating death: Migration governance and the procedural obligation under Article 2 (The Right to Life) ECHR

Sam Mcintosh, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Article 2 (the right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) requires Member States (MSs) to carry out independent, effective and public investigations into certain deaths. As well as deaths actively caused or contributed to by state actors, the obligation extends to deaths where states may have failed to adequately safeguard life. It can also extend to deaths caused by acts occurring or producing effects outside of a MS’s national territory. This paper will explore the theoretical reach and scope of this procedural obligation in circumstances where unsettled migrants and refugees have died within or close to the borders of Council of Europe MSs.

Independent investigations can systematically, publicly and authoritatively identify where State or EU practice contributes to migrant and refugee deaths. They can provide answers to those who have lost loved ones. They can help open up the public debate to the consequential realities of border control policies and practices. And they can serve lesson learning and public accountability where state (or EU) actors or institutions have caused or contributed to deaths.

Thousands of migrants are dying every year in refugee camps, immigration detention centres, whilst crossing land borders into or between European States or whilst attempting to cross the Mediterranean. This paper will explore both positivist and normative arguments surrounding the potential reach and scope of Article 2’s investigative obligation in relation to relevant scenarios involving unsettled migrants and refugees, including: deaths within MS borders in detention centres or refugee camps; deaths occurring within the territorial waters of MSs; deaths of refugees held back at borders with non-MSs in poor living conditions and without access to proper healthcare; deaths on the high seas, or in the territorial waters of non-MSs, where it is alleged, or suspected, that there was a botched rescue operation involving MS actors, a failure by MS actors to offer aid to a boat in distress, or an attempt to impede, harass and/or drive a boat away from, or back across, a maritime border; deaths contributed to by aggressive external border policies that compel migrants to attempt irregular entry via dangerous routes; deaths at the hands of third state actors where the EU or MSs have cooperation agreements that aim to prevent migrants continuing towards Europe; and the unnatural deaths of failed asylum seekers upon their forced return to countries of origin.


Sam McIntosh is a lecturer and researcher at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He has a background as a practising human rights lawyer in London before moving into academia. His research and teaching continues to focus on human rights, with a particular interest in open justice, inquests and investigations into deaths at the hands of the state. Sam is currently embarking on a research project that will look into the implications of international and regional investigative obligations when it comes to the deaths of unsettled migrants and refugees within or close to the borders of Council of Europe member States. This project is funded by a research grant from the VolkswagenStiftung 'Original Isn't it?' funding line, "Komm! ins Offene...".

The Refugee "EU-Turkey Deal ". The Ethics of Border Politics.

Georgiana Turculet, Copenhagen University

As of March 2016, Europe (EU) deports most Syrian refugees approaching its Southern shores in search of a safe haven on a " fast track procedure " to Turkey. The EU and Turkey sealed what is commonly called the " EU-Turkey Deal ". Turkey already hosts the highest number of refugees in the world, but by accepting to host even more asylum seekers, it receives economic and political concessions. In this paper I argue that the deal is part of a larger paradigm, the paradigm of permanency, which replaces the previous one of temporariness. States started seeking long term solutions, instead of short term ones, in view of the fact that the protracted limbo into which Syrian refugees are plunged forces asylum seekers to challenge borders, and seek entry. Movement en masse will not stop, as the appalling images of the 2015 " Summer of Migration " showed, given that the return of refugees to Syria in the foreseeable future is not plausible; the ongoing war wrought massive destruction in most parts of the country. I further argue that only by assessing whether it is ethical for the EU to actively refuse permanency of a people on its soil, by paying off others to host them, can we evaluate whether the current politics of borders, within which the EU-Turkish deal is sealed, are morally and politically sustainable.


Georgiana Turculet is a post doctoral researcher at the University of Copenhagen, in the Philosophy Section of the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication (MCC). She is employed under a European Commission funded project, the H2020 Grant RESPOND, Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond. She received her PhD from Central European University.

Applying the Narrative Policy Framework to the Study of Migration Governance: The Case of Border Management and Migration Control in Italy

Andrea Terlizzi, University of Florence

This paper explores the benefits of applying the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) to the study of migration governance. The NPF is a relatively new framework for analyzing narratives in public policy-making (McBeth, Jones and Shanahan 2014). The role of narratives is strictly intertwined with the role of ideas and expert knowledge in shaping public policy. Narratives are indeed crucial in the dissemination and articulation of certain ideas that specify how to solve specific policy problems. In order to be successful, narratives have to be persuasive, namely, they need to be understandable, compelling and propose plausible solutions (Boswell, Geddes and Scholten 2011). The field of migration is particularly crucial to NPF analysis, in that the development of migration policies often builds upon narratives that are not always grounded in evidence about cause-and-effect relationships. The theoretical discussion is supported by the empirical analysis of the evolution of narratives relating to border management and migration control in Italy between 2011 and 2018. In particular, the analysis focuses on the extent to which these narratives have been giving rise to evidence-based polices.


Andrea Terlizzi is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Legal Sciences, University of Florence. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Naples “Federico II” (2009) and a MA in Political Science and Decision-Making Processes from the University of Florence (2012). Andrea also holds an Advanced Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Social Change from Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin (2013) and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Department of Social and Political Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence (2018). Andrea’s main research interests include public and social policy analysis, migration dynamics and policy, health systems and policy, federalism and decentralization, ideational analysis, institutional and policy change, qualitative methods.

The UK’s extraterritorial management of immigration: the role of mid-level immigration officials and foreign state actors

Nicole Ostrand, Sussex Centre for Migration Research

The rise in the number of people attempting to cross the Mediterranean irregularly in 2015 sparked a new wave of public and political concern over migration in Europe. This was reflected in near continuous news coverage and new initiatives and resources by the European Union and member state governments to address what they labelled a “migration crisis.” The UK government, for example, pledged £217 million to countries in Africa with large flows of migrants travelling from and through their territories. They also invested around £20 million in France to reduce the number of irregular migrants crossing the English Channel. These extraterritorial interventions raise questions about how wealthy destination states and regions are attempting to manage immigration in advance of their physical borders and what shapes their choices.

The following paper investigates these questions by examining the UK’s immigration liaison network in five countries: Ghana, Egypt, Thailand, the US and France. The goal is to understand how the UK’s extraterritorial immigration controls are put into practice and why they vary so greatly across different countries. The paper focuses on the role played by UK immigration officials and foreign state actors – dimensions often missing in studies on extraterritorialisation. Drawing on interviews with Home Office personnel, freedom of information requests and government documents, the paper uncovers the way mid-level interior officials influence the UK’s overseas management. In doing so, it goes beyond political discourse and the formal policy level to demonstrate how Home Office officials’ interpretations of “immigration risk” and foreign state actors’ behaviour too are essential for understanding the UK’s actions. These findings illustrate the importance of the immigration and law enforcement officials involved in extraterritorialisation, and shows government ministers and senior officials are not the only significant actors shaping a country’s overseas immigration controls.


Nicole Ostrand is a fourth year PhD student in Migration Studies at the University of Sussex and an editorial assistant for the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Her current research is on the UK’s extraterritorial immigration management. She has also written on immigration policy in the US and Thailand. Nikki received a BS in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and an MA in Human Rights from Mahidol University, Thailand. While in Thailand, she worked as a project coordinator for the Strengthening Human Rights Protection for Rohingya Project (2012-2014). She was also a consultant at the Centre for Migration Studies of New York in 2014, where she wrote about the US and Europe’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis, stateless Rohingya in Thailand and Australia’s extraterritorial controls.

Securitising borders in the Central Mediterranean: A bulwark against the unwanted

Aphrodite Papachristodoulou, University College Dublin

The European migration crisis presents a colossal example of how the humanitarian imperative of search and rescue (‘SAR’) at sea has been subordinated to the security objectives of protecting European borders. Although the phenomenon of irregular migration by sea, particularly in the Mediterranean, certainly pre-dates the emergence of the current migration ‘crisis’, coordinated efforts to systematically address the perceived crisis only really began in 2013, largely through the Italian government’s decision to launch Mare Nostrum, a humanitarian SAR mission, in response to public shock at the loss of life at sea occurring beyond its coastline. The paper, through a country-specific case study (Italy), will trace the changes in border management and will examine how the policies governing migration by sea in the Central Mediterranean have been shaped to date since 2012.

With the ending of Italy’s Mare Nostrum mission in 2014, and the emplacement of Frontex Joint Operation Triton in 2014, later complimented by the EU naval operation Sophia in 2015, the modus operandi has shifted towards border security, and the disruption of smuggling networks. At the same time, a number of humanitarian organisations started conducting pro-active SAR operations to fill the vacuum of responsibility created by the scaling-back of state-led SAR missions. Yet, the Italian government, seeking to be at the forefront of regulating migration (im)mobility has waged a war against NGOs, making the right to seek international protection vis-à-vis asylum even more elusive. The paper looks at how the different actors that play out in the Mediterranean have shaped border management, considering both state and non-state actors, working together as part of an overall European policy approach. It will consider the deterrence measures adopted to disrupt migrant flows and, second, the role of the state in border security and its relationship to the protection of a sovereign territory.


Aphrodite Papachristodoulou is a PhD researcher at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin (UCD) and is a member of the UCD Centre of Human Rights. She lectures International Human Rights Law at UCD, and her research interests include refugee law, human rights and law of the sea. Aphrodite’s PhD project focuses particularly on the European migration crisis and the right to life at sea. She holds an LLB from the University of Southampton, UK and a Master’s degree in Maritime Law from University College London (UCL), UK. Prior to joining UCD, Aphrodite worked and qualified as a lawyer at the Cyprus Bar Association (2015-2017).

The Brenner-Route: Border controls at the heart of Schengen

Matthias Schmidt-Sembdner, University of Göttingen

The reintroduction of national border controls in the Schengen area as a reaction to the migration movements of 2015 was not limited to the Balkan route, as the policy measures of recent years alongside the Brenner route from Italy via Austria to Germany illustrate: an increased police and military presence at the railway stations of northern Italy, a new Austrian border management and the constant checks of the German Federal Police at the border to Austria changed the conditions of transit migration of asylum seekers via the Brenner radically. One measure already dates from the year 2014: after ministerial arrangements between Italy, Austria and Germany, a trilateral police cooperation was installed along the Brenner route. The joint police patrols on international trains have now become an integral part of the comprehensive control apparatus that has emerged in the »heart of the Schengen area« in recent years.

Based on several years of empirical field research along the Brenner route, my presentation will focus on the relationship between strategies of renationalization and those policies which are proclaimed as »European solutions«. Firstly, I would like to show in which way these two approaches are interdependent: I argue for analyzing them not only in terms of their contradictory characteristics, but also to for focusing on their complementary attributes. Secondly, I would like to illustrate the role of the movement of migration in the reconfiguration of the Schengen area and its constitutive force in political transformation processes. Therefor I will use the concept of non-movements, which was elaborated by the Iranian-American sociologist Asef Bayat in his 2010 book Life as Politics.


Matthias Schmidt-Sembdner holds a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and is a PhD candidate at the University of Göttingen, Germany, Department for Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology. Following his research focus on the European border regime, he is examining the tensions between the processes of Europeanization and renationalization in the Schengen Area. His research interests include the Dublin-System, migratory struggles for mobility and theories of social movements. 

Beyond Imageries of Nation-State Sovereignty: Border Politics in Austria

Ivan Josipovic, Austrian Academy of Sciences

Located in the geographical centre of the EU-Schengen Area, Austria is deeply integrated into a space of intra-EU mobility. Yet, while the removal of barriers towards neighbouring states had been politically celebrated for over two decades following the fall of the Iron Curtain, political discourse on “closing borders” reignited in 2015 as a response to the so-called refugee crisis. The reintroduction of systematic border controls and the erection of a fence towards Slovenia marked the starting point for a series of legal reforms on migration control that particularly targeted the group of asylum seekers (including those who want to enter the asylum procedure and those who have been rejected).
In this paper, I will address the following questions: how have border policies in Austria changed between 2011 and 2018, and which reconfiguration of involved actors accompanied this change? What kind of rhetoric did political elites deploy in order to address unwanted movements across and within federal territory?
In a first step, I will analyse policy reforms in the realm of border management and asylum, based on data collected through the H2020 project RESPOND. Here, I look into legal changes and public action of the executive branch. I will thereby focus on how specific policy goals also necessitate certain forms of (non-)cooperation with other actors. In a second step, I will conduct a political claims analysis with speeches of federal government politicians, which address two different domains of border management. On the one hand, I will consider speeches on the reintroduction of controls at territorial borders as a domain that has historically been associated with nation-state sovereignty. On the other hand, I will look into speeches on forced removals as a domain that requires shared-sovereignty and the cooperation with EU actors and third countries. This will provide insights into ways in which political target groups and the nation state and its (in-)dependence from other actors are discursively constructed.


Ivan Josipovic, holds a master’s degree in Political Science. During his time as teaching assistant and tutor at the University of Vienna, he specialized in the areas of border and migration regimes, European integration research and asylum matters in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Since 2018, Ivan Josipovic is a pre-doc in the research group Urban Transformations at the Institute of Urban and Regional Research. He works on the project RESPOND –“Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond“.

Frontex, fundamental rights and pushbacks: the many failures of accountability regimes

Lena Karamanidou - Daniel Gyollai, Glasgow Caledonian University | Bernd Kasparek, University of Göttingen

Violence against migrants and the violation of their rights – stemming both from international law as well as European codifications of fundamental rights – at external borders of the European Union have been a key feature of the EU border regime, and are currently subject of several high profile cases at high European courts. Operations by European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), which has taken on an increasingly central role – including oversight functions – in the management of the EU’s external borders , must adhere to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and international refugee law . Yet, this adherence has often been called into question. In addition, Regulation (EU) 1624/2016, which established the European Border and Coast Guard as well as its Agency introduced an expanded accountability regime to investigate human rights violations.

In this paper, we focus on the Agency’s responses to systematic push-backs in two external border locations: the Hungarian-Serbian border and the Greek-Turkish land border. Using the Freedom of Information (FOI) mechanism established by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, we submitted FOI requests in order to obtain information regarding the role and responses of Frontex in these locations. Drawing on the information provided (or not), fieldwork and other research, we query the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Frontex accountability regime. While the very purpose of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 is to enhance accountability providing public access to EU documents, it is – paradoxically – the prerogative of Frontex to deny disclosure by invoking public security and the effectiveness of its operations. Further, our research findings confirm the existing doubts on the effectiveness of accountability mechanisms embedded in Regulation (EU) 1624/2016 and previous regulations, such as the individual complaints mechanism, the Fundamental Rights Officer, and the Consultative Forum. We argue that these mechanisms fail to provide effective remedies against the inherent violence of the EU border regime, or hold Frontex accountable for fundamental rights violations.


Lena Karamanidou is Research Fellow for the project RESPOND - Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond. Her research interests include migration and asylum policies and politics in the European Union and Greece, the political discourse of migration and asylum, and the intersections between migration, exclusion, racism and the state.

Daniel Gyollai is a PhD student at Glasgow Caledonian University. His PhD project focuses on the role of agency in the securitization of migration, taking policing in Hungary as a case study. Daniel is a former police officer and earned his master’s degree (Distinction) in Criminology and Forensic Psychology at Middlesex University London. Prior to joining GCU he interned for the UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia. His latest article is “Controlling Irregular Migration: International Human Rights Standards and the Hungarian Legal Framework” in 2018 with European Journal of Criminology.

Bernd Kasparek is a mathematician and cultural anthropologist, specialising on migration and border studies and the study of European integration in this field. He is currently employed at the University of Göttingen, Germany, Institute for Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology as a contributor to the Horizon2020-funded project RESPOND

Prison islands at the southeastern EU borders and the right to asylum: The effects of implementing CEAS at the Greek border islands after the Crisis

Alexandra Bousiou, University of Gothenburg - School of Global Studies and CERGU

Since the 2015 refugee crisis the European asylum regime has been under critique for its shortcomings. During this time the longstanding trend of using islands to confine asylum seekers in Europe became prominent in asylum governance. By looking at the European borderscape comprised of the five Greek islands that host the hotspot approach I demonstrate the implications of the implementation of the European asylum regime to the right to asylum. A number of changes in asylum and border controls have taken place since the introduction of the hotspot approach. Although all are important and interrelated, in this article I focus on the reconfiguration of the asylum process in Greece and the creation of a two-tier system for granting international protection with profound implications on both the integrity of the institution and on the subjects of asylum law. The two-tier system refers to the differential processes and guarantees applied in the mainland and at territorial edges respectively. Although the legal changes in the EU level are more geared towards emergency measures and implementing tools rather than a thorough legal revision of CEAS, the effects for the Greek asylum system as it is implemented at the external EU borders are detrimental. The main findings of the article demonstrate how the prioritization of control through confinement has been integrated in the regional asylum regime with a disproportionate cost of increased barriers in access to international protection and inhumane reception conditions.


Alexandra Bousiou has a Bachelor in Law and a Master in International Relations and has practiced law as a human rights lawyer and as a Refugee status Determination Committee Chair. She is a PhD candidate at the Centre for European Research at the University of Gothenburg (CERGU) and at the School of Global Studies. Her research focus on the governance of asylum in Southeastern European borders and on its implications for refugee protection. In particular she is looking at the Greek border islands (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kos) where the hotspot approach has been implemented.

Reconfiguring borders: Policies and practices and the case of Lesvos

Eva Papatzani - Ilias Aggelos - Nadina Leivaditi - Electra Petrakou, University of Aegean

Migration and border management constitute crucial issues in the current public debate and political governance in both the EU level and in Greece. In parallel, specific geographic areas emerged as important border sites not only in spatial terms, but also in terms of policies, discourses, and practices, and found themselves at the epicenter of the global migration governance, and were redefined and reconfigured by a complex grid of policies and actors in multiple scales.

This paper elaborates on a characteristic example of such a transformation, Lesvos, an island at the eastern borders of Greece that nowadays constitutes one of the most important border sites in Europe and the Mediterranean. It does so by analyzing, critically discussing and mapping the grid of legislation, policies, discourses, practices, institutions, actors and policies’ implementation that shape the governance of movements, and the spatial dimension of borders’ reconfiguration in multiple scales, from the global to the very local.
Fundamental issues considered include the following:
In which ways is the island of Lesvos being reshaped as a border area in the European scale? How does this transformation affect the scale of the nation-state and the micro-scale of the places’ everyday life? Which mechanisms are involved in these procedures? What kind of “new” border spaces emerge on the island?

This paper is based on ongoing research conducted for the needs of the Research Programme RESPOND that includes in-depth interviews with public authorities, international organizations, NGOs, and refugees.


Eva Papatzani is a member of the RESPOND team of the University of Aegean and PhD Candidate in Urban and Regional Planning at the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). She is an Architect by training (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) with a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning (NTUA), where she is also a Teaching Assistant. Her doctoral thesis entitled “Migration, diversity, and negotiations of cohabitation in the neighborhoods of Athens: Governance policies and everyday practices” has been supported with scholarships from the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT)/Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI) and the NTUA Special Account for Research. Her research focuses on the study of migration and urban transformations and she is particularly interested in the socio-spatial interethnic relationships developing in the cities, the everyday negotiations of co-habitation, the socio-spatial segregation and the urban integration policies for immigrants.

Nadina Leivaditi studied Social Anthropology and History at the University of the Aegean and she has earned her Master degree inArchitectural Design - Space – Culture at the National Technical University of Athens. Her master thesis is based on a Shelter for Unaccompanied Minors in Lesvos. Shortly afterwards (2014), she started working for NGO PRAKSIS in Athens, as a social anthropologist in terms of the Program Medical Services Extended.Thereafter, against the background of the refugee crisis (2015-2016), she moved to Lesvos as an envoy of the same NGO, where she undertook several tasks as a Local Coordinator of a range of programs, focused in theProtection Assistance for Children and Vulnerable people on the Move in Lesvos.Later on she participated in a research project as a field researcher that aims at producing actions towards the refugee’s educational support and their long-term educational empowerment in the framework of Project ‘Press’ which is funded by the Hellenic Open University. In December of 2017 until April of the same year she took part in a research project funded by NGO Safe Passage UK focusing on the functionality of family reunification procedures under the Dublin III Regulation and the implications for unaccompanied children in Greece.Since May 2017 she works as a senior researcher in a recently granted Horizon 2020 project entitled Respond - Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond coordinated by Uppsala University. 

Ilias Aggelos is assistant researcher at the University of Aegean. He studied Geography in the University of the Aegean with a minor research on culinary and dietary habits among immigrants in Athens (bachelor level). He also participated voluntarily in several groups in support of refugees and immigrants in Lesvos and in Athens.

Turkey’s Governance of Irregular Migration at European Union Borders: A Longitudinal Study in Two Border Cities

Nefise Ela GOKALP ARAS, Swedish Research Institute Istanbul

This paper is based on a longitudinal study with a focus on irregular migration, by raising the question of to what extent governance of border and irregular migration have changed at the two important exist cities between 2011-2018. The paper focuses on the sea city-Izmir- and the land border city-Edirne that have always been on the migratory routes played an important role within the European refugee crisis. Their geographical positioning is a crucial aspect to understand both the political considerations behind border controls through the impact of the EU’s externalization and the dynamic character of irregular migration. Along with the main question given above, the impact of the two significant independent variables is also analyzed, namely the European Union’s externalization of the irregular migration policy and the Syrian mass migration in relation with the irregular and forced migration nexus. In terms of the EU dimension, it should be noted that this study does not see Turkey merely as passive recipients of the EU foreign policy but also an agent in and of itself, influencing the EU institutions from the ‘outside-in’. Therefore, it can be said that rather than focusing on the spill-over occurring within the EU, the study focuses on exogenous factors that also transform the EU.

Methodologically, along with a desk research for a comprehensive analysis of irregular migration governance in Turkey, the research benefits from a longitudinal, multi-sided and multi-layered research that based on several fieldworks regarding of irregular migration over a period of first August 2011 to March 2013 in Izmir and Ankara, then July- November 2018 in the same cities as a part of RESPOND Project (Horizon2020). The key within this research is to extend the research analysis beyond a single moment in time and to trace changes and continuities regarding irregular migration. The fieldwork focuses on three levels, namely macro, meso and micro for being able to detect developments or changes in the characteristics of the irregular migration related legal and institutional framework (macro) and also the border-related actors from policy implementers to smugglers and migrants as well as the methods, perceptions, strategies, and results (meso and micro). Thus, the paper compares and contract both irregular migration related macrostructure but also meso and micro level actors’ experiences, perceptions, and strategies.


Ela Gokalp Aras has B.A. degree in International Relations from Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University (2000) and MSc. (2005) in Sociology from Middle East Technical University. She obtained PhD. Degree in Sociology, from Middle East Technical University in 2013. She holds over seven years of experience in academic and institutional research. Previously, she worked as a lecturer and assistant professor in the International Relations departments in Turkey. Her research and teaching focus on the European integration, EU-Turkey relations, international migration (irregular and transit) and asylum regimes, border management, security (in particular human security), international human rights, research and project management. She has been publishing many articles in high impact national and international journals, chapters in several edited national and international books and policy briefs. In addition, she has over seventeen years of experience in the field of project management. Recently, she is working as a senior research fellow and principal investigator of RESPOND Project at the Swedish Research Institute.

Border Management Through Informal and Deformalised External Action: The Case of Italy and EU

Elisa Olivito, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’

In the context of migration policies and control of external borders, the EU and Member States now favour an externalisation strategy. It not only constitutes a mere palliative to the inadequacies of the Dublin Regulation, but it shows how EU is moving backward, resorting to an intergovernmental approach to migration issues. In particular since the 2015 refugees crisis, this pull-back strategy is increasingly reliant on agreements with third countries, through which the fight against irregular migration very often intersects ambiguous objectives of economic-military cooperation. The new trend is ever more based on informal international instruments, which avoid the solemn and public form of international treaties, in order to divert the external action of EU and Member States from parliamentary and public opinion control. The case of Italy and its recourse to executive (and secret) agreements are taken as examples. In one case, the ratification of the agreement was not subject to prior legislative authorisation, as the Constitution requires, and the details of its implementation are still unknown (Libya 2017). In the other case, the parliamentary authorisation for ratification was requested only after the entry into force of the agreement and when it had already been indicated - although the text was still unknown - as a legal basis for the authorisation of a military mission (Niger 2017). The similarities with the external action of the EU will be highlighted, especially with regard to the EU propensity to deformalise its external action and to use informal tools, which are therefore diverted from the control of the EU Parliament and the EU Court of Justice (EU-Turkey Statement). It will be remarked how in the field of migration the process of de-formalisation and “informalisation” of the external action contributes to bringing migratory policies back to an intergovernmental method. Therefore, the assumption that those agreements are unquestionable 'political acts' crystallises the dubious goal to remove them from the rule of law and, specifically, from constitutional constraints.


Elisa Olivito is Associate Professor of Public Law at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’. She holds a PhD in Public Law from the University of Perugia. She edited the volume ‘Gender and Migration in Italy. A Multilayered Perspective’ (Ashgate 2016). Her main research interests include legal theory, constitutional law, migration law, secularism, women's studies, surrogate motherhood, housing rights. She is currently doing research on ‘Cities, social peripheries and inequalities’.

Crisis on the edge of Europe. Migration and self-defence in Hungary

Rashed Daher, Eotvos Lorand University

As 2015 saw the migration crisis in Central Europe, the Hungarian government took a firm stance on the issue trying to regulate the unprecedented inflow of people. First among many European countries affected by the mass movements, Hungary quickly developed a policy of resistance against the migrants and closed its green borders from the south (constructing a border fence) with the intention of diverting the incoming people to the border checkpoints. Since then, the Hungarian government denies any illegal (undocumented) entry to the country and refers to the sovereign right of the Hungarians to decide on the question of migration.
In my paper, I try to seek the historical, sociological and political roots of the strong Hungarian resentment against migration. It is evident that the presence of any migrants from the Middle East is refused by both the government and the public, and the reception policy of Hungary mirrors these concerns. As the uncontrolled mass of migrants entered Hungary in the summer of 2015, the unfolding events served as a game-changer in the political discourse and put the question of migration high on the political agenda. Since then, the focus on effective border management is considered as the key element of securing the nation state against illegal movement of people. In this vein, I distinguish and analyse five key components of Hungarian border control: deterrence of migrants entering the country (messaging), prevention of illegal border crossings (outside Schengen area), interdiction at the borderline, apprehension of those who cross the border illegally (long-range border control), and expulsion. This paper’s explicit intent is to spark debate on the general understanding of migration and shed light on the specific case of Hungary in the international migration discourse.


Rashed Daher is a senior lecturer at the Department of Arabic Studies at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest and Central European University. He works also as an official Arabic-English-Hungarian interpreter in Hungary, and has an education contract at the Ministry of Defence in Hungary. His main field of academic interest concerns security-related issues (migration, population dynamics, social and economic conflicts, environmental degradation, water security) in the Middle East, especially in Egypt, Lebanon and Syria in both historical and contemporary perspective.

EU’s externalization border control to Libya and Turkey during and after the refugee crisis

Ahmad Kilani & Vladimir Ivanov, RUDN University, Moscow

The refugee crisis have pushed Europe off-balance, through the upsurge in Euroscepticism signifying the struggle between national sovereignty and the necessity to find international answers to trans-boundary challenges due to irregular migration. This paper will concentrate on exogenous aspects that influence the European Union policies on border control and examine the consequences of the 2011 Arab Spring and the 2015 refugee crisis on the EU institutions. It can be debated that the European Union has conveyed border control regulations to adjacent states and regions to achieve its internal border control goals. This paper will use Libya and Turkey because of their significance to the EU as neighboring transit states for migrants and due to their divergent domestic circumstances and relations with the EU; hence, will search for cases such as the EU-Turkey deal and the EU-Libya agreement to show how the European Union has adapted to external changes. Consequently, this paper does not consider developing countries as unreceptive partners of EU foreign policy yet as important players influencing the EU policies internally which can be discerned by the rise of the far right parties after the refugee crisis and externally through additional border control externalization policies and new migration laws.


Ahmad Kilani is a Lebanese American fellow researcher currently in Moscow, and a Ph.D. candidate in comparative politics. He has worked with Syrian refugees in Lebanon in 2015 and 2016. He has currently published his book “Comparative Analyses of US Media Hegemony” along with many other publications. His main specialty is global politics, integration policies, MENA politics, and US foreign policies.

Tracing the Effects of Uncertainty in Border and Migration Policies: Risk Perceptions of Refugee Communities in Turkey

Eda Kiriscioglu, University of Amsterdam - Koc University | Ayşen Üstübici, Koc University

This paper analyzes how different refugee communities in Turkey decide to move on or stay under the uncertainty of border and immigration policies. Irregular transit migration flows from the Middle East and Western Asia through Turkey have a long-established history, dating back to the 1990s. As the continuation of this trend and spillover effect of the Syrian conflict, migration flows from Turkey to the European Union through Greece in 2015 became prominent. While hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Afghans left Turkey, most stayed as these flows significantly decreased in 2016. This shift in the volume of migration flows can be partly be explained by structural changes in the international refugee regime, the EU-Turkey statement in 2016, and the EU’s externalization policies. Yet, more research is needed to reveal how these policy shifts shape migrants’ perceptions of risks of crossing the border and how their experiences influence their decision to move on or stay. In this regard, the findings are primarily based on the analysis of 25 semi-structured interviews with Syrian and Afghan refugees living in Turkey. The interview questions reveal their decision-making processes at different phases of their journey, considering individual factors as well as key policy interventions since 2015. The findings are then triangulated with the analysis of interviews with the 15 key stakeholders among them are representatives of government and non-governmental organizations.
The project aims to address the complex interplay of policy dynamics, migrants’ decision making and migration flows. The findings will also be extended and tested as part of a larger Horizon 2020 project ADMIGOV examining the good migration governance.


Eda Kiriscioglu is currently a PhD student at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). She holds an MA degree from the Department of International Relations and Political Science at the Koç University, with a specialty on migration and borders. For her master thesis, she has conducted research on the discourses at the Turkish Parliament on mass flows from Bulgaria, Iraq and Syria. She currently works as a researcher at MiReKoc (Migration Research Center at Koc University) as the PhD researcher for the project funded by Horizon 2020; ADMIGOV, Advancing Alternative Migration Governance, (2019 -2023).

Ayşen Üstübici is currently an Assistant Professor at Koç University, Department of Sociology and the Department of Political Science. She is the author of The Governance of International Migration: Irregular Migrants' Access to Right to Stay in Turkey and Morocco (University of Amsterdam Press). Her areas of interest are international migration, irregular migration, externalisation of border management, social integration. She is the principle investigator of the newly starting projects funded by Horizon 2020; ADMIGOV, Advancing Alternative Migration Governance, (2019 -2023) and MIGNEX, Aligning Migration Management and the Migration-Development Nexus (2018-2023).

Humanitarian containment: The role of NGOs and volunteers along the Balkan route

Synnøve Bendixsen, University of Bergen

In 2015, more than one million migrants reached Europa in the largest movement of peoples since WWII. To prevent this, the EU and Schengen countries from late March 2016 instituted a new policy of regional containment, especially targeting irregular migration via Turkey with an explicit aim to stop and turn back migrants. Moreover, European transit countries, with Hungary in the lead, have erected physical borders, such as fences, to deter migrants. Since the 1990s, the “border game” and “border spectacles” between officials and migrants has been professionalized as a result of the technologization of border management. Simultaneously, new practices of hospitality and solidarity through which different ways of engaging with refugees were initiated by citizens, religious organizations, and NGOs. To understand the present refugee crises in the Mediterranean there is a need to “look beyond the boundedness of the modern nation state” (Gatrell 2016: 3).
This paper draws on ongoing fieldwork and interviews with refugees, as well as locals and people from the global North volunteering in Bosnia. The Balkan route is characterized by ‘clusters’ of informal dwellings, warehouse camps and makeshift camps. The paper will discuss the encounter between refugees, NGOs assisting migrants, EU border authorities, Bosnian government and local officials and how the NGOs become entangled with and part of the production of containment. This ongoing work is situated within the newly funded project SuperCamp – the Middle East as a regional zone of containment (at CMI, Norway). This project aims to build a new understanding of the regional and global forces of humanitarian containment, captured in the term SuperCamp.
Gatrell, P. 2015. The Making of the Modern Refugee. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Synnøve Bendixsen is an Associate Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen. She has conducted research on refugees and irregular migrants in Norway, marginality, hospitality, young Muslims and religiosity in Germany, urban life and diversity. She has written several journal articles, book chapters and co-edited several books on these topics, including the forthcoming Contested Hospitalities in a Time of Migration: Religious and Secular Counterspaces in the Nordic Region with Routledge (co-edited together with Trygve Wyller). Bendixsen is the co-editor in chief for the Nordic Journal of Migration Research (with Lena Näre) and the series co-editor for the Palgrave Macmillan series Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference (with Edvard Hviding, UiB).