The European Union–West African sea border: Anti-immigration strategies and territoriality

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Series Details Vol.24, No.2, April 2017, p209–224
Publication Date April 2017
ISSN 0969-7764
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The fight against unwanted sea migration in Southern Europe has triggered the territorial redefinition of European Union (EU) borders and transformed the relationship between sending and receiving countries in the region.

This paper focuses on the strategies that the EU and Spain adopted to seal the maritime border around the Canary Islands between 2005 and 2010. According to the primary and secondary data used here, the closure of the Atlantic route that happened in this period was the result of the combination of defensive and preventative measures along and beyond this section of the EU border.

Initiatives aimed at promoting economic development, creating jobs at origin, and temporary migration programs paved the way for cooperation among governments, thus making possible the deployment of military resources along the border, the return/deportation of unwanted EU-bound migrants, and the externalization of migration control responsibilities.

Cooperation and the mixture of proactive and reactive initiatives seen in this case study are likely to become the hallmark of a new kind of global anti-immigration border that extends beyond the territory of the state.

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