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Emergence of a “Big Brother” in Europe: Border Control and Securitization of Migration

The European Union (EU) has been devising new methods to manage irregular migration and border control. In the last few decades, a clear link has been established between migration, borders and security in Europe. The paper critically examines this link and the EU’s response to the problem through the implementation of two methods: the externalization of border control and increased surveillance. Both these instrument mainly aim at eradicating risk with the help of surveillance tools such as databases and profiling people travelling from third countries, preventing irregular migrants from reaching the EU through pre-emptive measures, and dealing with them outside of the Union as much as possible. However, these methods create other forms of insecurities while claiming to attain a more secure Europe, such as empowering states at the expense of individual liberties and making individuals part of a total surveillance system where their daily actions and preferences are recorded.

 

Recently, a boat carrying 72 passengers sent out a distress call, which was ignored by European military vessels, allegedly even including a NATO vessel. As a result, only nine people managed to survive thirst and hunger as their vessel drifted in open waters for 16 days. Images of the dead bodies of African migrants, who were left to die by European military, were broadcasted on European television in May 2011. For sure this was not the first incident, which caused a loss of life; however, it did once again reveal the tragedies taking place in the Mediterranean, the severity of the situation, and the illiberal practices of European security agents in dealing with irregular migration. 

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