Challenging the notion of Fortress Europe, the research project ‘BORDERLANDS: Boundaries, Governance, and Power in the European Union's Relations with North Africa and the Middle East’ investigates relations between the European Union and MENA countries through the concept of borderlands. This concept emphasises the disaggregation of the triple function of borders demarcating state territory, authority, and national identity inherent in the Westphalian model of statehood. This process is most visible in (although not limited to) Europe, where integration has led to supranational areas of sovereignty, an internal market, a common currency, and a zone of free movement of people, each with a different territorial span. The project aims at exploring the complex and differentiated process by which the EU extends its unbundled functional and legal borders to the so-called southern Mediterranean (North Africa and parts of the Middle East), thereby transforming that area into borderlands. They connect the European core with the periphery through various legal and functional border regimes, governance patterns, and the selective outsourcing of some EU border control duties.
The overarching questions informing this research is whether, first, the borderland policies of the EU, described by some as a neo-medieval empire, is a functional consequence of the specific integration model pursued inside the EU, a matter of foreign policy choice or a local manifestation of a broader global phenomenon. Second, the project addresses the political and social implications of these processes for the ‘borderlands’, along with the question of power dynamics that underwrite borderland governance, presuming a growing leverage of third country governments resulting from their co-optation as gatekeepers. The project will thus re-examine the theory and reality of one of the most basic concepts ininternational relations, namely borders.
Funded by the European Research Council (ERC) within the 7th Framework Programme, this five-year project commenced on 1 October 2011 and is directed by Prof Raffaella A. Del Sarto.
Data and Maps
- Foot, Rosemary (2016) ‘The Borderlands Concept and Its Application to China's Relations with its Asian Neighbours’, EUI/RSCAS Working Paper 2016/44, BORDERLANDS Project
- Del Sarto, Raffaella A. (2016). ‘Normative Empire Europe: The European Union, Its Borderlands and the “Arab Spring”’, Journal of Common Market Studies 54 (2): 215-232
- Cassarino, Jean-Pierre (2016). 'Réadmission des migrants: Les faux-semblants des partenariats euro-africains', Politique Etrangère 16/1: 25-37
- Müftüler-Baç, Meltem (2016). 'The European Union and Turkey: transforming the European periphery into European borderlands', EUI RSCAS; 2016/12; BORDERLANDS Project
- Zaragoza-Cristiani, Jonathan (2015). 'Analysing the Causes of the Refugee Crisis and the Key Role of Turkey: Why Now and Why So Many?', EUI Working Papers, RSCAS 2015/95, BORDERLANDS Project
- Limam, Mohamed and Raffaella A. Del Sarto (2015) 'Periphery under Pressure: Morocco, Tunisia and the European Union's Mobility Partnership on Migration', EUI Working Papers, RSCAS 2015/75, BORDERLANDS Project
- Del Sarto, Raffaella A. (ed.) (2015). 'Fragmented Borders, Interdependence and External Relations: The Israel-Palestine-European Union Triangle', Houndsmill, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
- Tholens, Simone (2014). ‘An EU-South Mediterranean Energy Community: The Right Policy for the Right Region?’, The International Spectator 49(2): 34-49