IN A NUTSHELL
The design and implementation of security policies across Europe have
changed over the last years. As a result, many security policy
‘borderlines’ have been redrawn—at a conceptual, operational, spatial
and institutional level. The new delimitations, however, pose a range of
Against this backdrop, the borderlines project seeks to reveal the new 'borderlines' of European security with a view to unraveling the underlying governance trends of security-related policies and instruments at the European level. This comprehensive governance investigation rests on an interdisciplinary research design, combining legal analysis with political science research tools.
Photo credit: Dean Hochmann. License: CC BY 2.0
In the last few years, the design and implementation of security policies across Europe have drastically changed. Key in the recent security paradigm shift is a new, much broader threat perception caused by the imbrication of security spheres in a globalized world: Instability or unrest in faraway places can engender migration flows, fuel piracy or trigger religious radicalization, all of which can eventually have negative security repercussions on Europe. A major cause of the recent security turn is thus the progressive erosion of the previously clear line between domestic and foreign security issues. The internal and external aspects of border control or cyber governance, for instance, are interlaced—from a conceptual and spatial as well as from an operational and institutional viewpoint.
European States have thus increasingly taken a transboundary approach to cope with more and more interwoven security realities, abandoning the internal–external distinction when designing and implementing security policies. This transboundary approach is often based on the (mostly) informal merger of capacities at the European level. As a matter of fact, we have in recent years witnessed an upsurge in delegation of formerly nationally managed security functions—e.g. border control, law enforcement data management, cyber defence—to joint European structures.
These novel governance trends regarding European security policies challenge, however, traditional categories of ‘borders’. Many of the recent security policy measures sit indeed uneasy between the well-established and distinct categories of prevention and repression, and can moreover not easily be assigned to law enforcement or external security action. There is thus operational convergence going hand in hand with a conceptual amalgamation, perfectly illustrated by the coordination and cooperation of Frontex, the EU border management agency, and the EU naval operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, the territorial scope of security policies has become blurry as their spatial projection has increased: The Sahel region has, for instance, become a major zone of European security and defence activities concerned with migration management, border control and terrorism prevention. What is more, the recent conclusion of agreements between Frontex and third states, in particular in the Western Balkans, henceforth allow police officers from EU member states to perform their duties on the territory of a third state.
What does this spatial (out-)reach imply for international norms, in particular human rights obligations? Many plaintiffs at home and abroad will be left without redress options given the informal nature of measures or decisions taken against them. Indeed, while the predominantly informal merger of capacities at the European level offers large efficiency gains to States, it risks eroding governance and rule of law standards. The new European security policy landscape hence poses a range of legal and institutional challenges.
The objective of borderlines is to unravel the novel governance trends which are common across different EU security-related policies and instruments. The project will address several key aspects regarding the formulation and implementation of European security policies. A particular analytical focus of Borderlines will be on the scrutiny of conceptual, operational, spatial and institutional changes made in response to the internal–external security nexus.
To achieve this objectives, the borderlines project employs an interdisciplinary approach: next to an in-depth study of legal sources, the analysis will draw on empirical data (in particular interviews). It thus breaks new ground by combining tools of legal scholarship with insights from political science research—both in analytical and conceptual terms.
The members of the borderlines group have diverse academic backgrounds. This interdisciplinarity, in turn, informs both the approach(es) and output of the research group.
Dr Carolyn Moser
Head of group
Carolyn is specialized on the law and practice of security and defence in Europe. Trained in both law and political science at Sciences Po (Paris) and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Boston), she holds a PhD from Utrecht University, for which she was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society. Her publications include a monograph with OUP on accountability in the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (forthcoming) and a co-edited book on the legal framework of the OSCE (CUP, 2019).
Rabia has been a master’s student in both Political Science and German Language and Literature at the University of Heidelberg since fall 2018. She strengthens the empirical portfolio of the group thanks to the valuable experience she gained through her work for the German Longitudinal Election Study 2018.
Lukas has been a law student at the University of Heidelberg since autumn 2017. Motivated by his strong interest in European and international law, he interned at the European Parliament. Hence, he joins the team with useful practice insights into the law and governance of EU institutions and processes.