Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht Logo Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht

Sie befinden sich hier: Forschung Forschung nach Projekten Forschungsgruppen Borderlines


BORDERLINES is a Research Group led by Carolyn Moser under the Minerva Fast Track scheme of the Max Planck Society (2019–2022). It explores the governance credentials of novel security policy trends in Europe from an interdisciplinary perspective.


We are hiring!

You have a PhD in law or political science and are interested in studying the current transformation of European security policies? Then apply for a position as a postdoctoral researcher in our interdisciplinary group.



The matrix of European security policies has considerably changed in the last couple of years. As a result, the ‘borderlines’ of security policies are shifting—in terms of operational emphasis, territorial scope, institutional setting, and legal framework. The new delimitations, however, pose a range of governance challenges.

Against this backdrop, the borderlines sets out to disentangle the new legal and policy features of European security, principally border control and cybersecurity, and seeks to explain how these features reconfigure the governance architecture in place. 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

Starting point

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 Europeanization, that is the (mostly informal) merger of coordination and implementation 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.

Key issue & salience

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.

Objective & research design

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

Dr Carolyn Moser

Head of group

Carolyn is specialized on the Law and Governance of Peace and Security. Trained in both law and political science at Sciences Po Paris and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University, USA), 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 EU security and defence (2020, forthcoming) and a co-edited book on the legal framework of the OSCE (CUP, 2019).

Persönliche Homepage

 Rabia Ferahkaya

Rabia Ferahkaya

Research assistant

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 Märtin

Lukas Märtin

Research assistant

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 and, moreover, reached the final round of pleadings of the renowned European Law Moot Court Competition in his role as Advocate General. Hence, he joins the team with useful practice insights into the law and governance of EU institutions and processes.

Research Output


European integration and the phenomenon of (de-)constitutionalization, project with Berhold Rittberger, LMU (joint publication forthcoming)

'Frontex—a rising star of declining Europe?', online symposium on the Verfassungsblog edited by Carolyn Moser, with contributions by Elisabeth Badenhoop, Florin Comad Kund, Rabia Ferahkaya, Samuel Hartwig, Constantin Hruschka, Lukas Märtin, Carolyn Moser, and Catharina Ziebritzki.



  • Moser, Carolyn, 'Hard Power Europe?', In: In: Zeitschrift für öffentliches ausländisches Recht und Völkerrecht (ZaöRV) 1, 1-12 (2020). Beck online
  • Moser, Carolyn, 'Eine kurze Einführung in Frontex'. Newsroom of the Max Planck Society, focus section '25 Years Schengen Area'; updated, enlarged and translated version of the Verfassungsblog post dated 3 February 2020, 20.03.2020.
  • 'Frontex—a rising star of declining Europe?', online symposium on the Verfassungsblog edited by Carolyn Moser
    • Hruschka, Constantin, 'Frontex and the duty to respect and protect human rights',, 07.02.2020
    • Moser, Carolyn, Ferahkaya, Rabia, and Märtin, Lukas, 'Frontex goes Africa: on pre-emptive border control and migration management',, 06.02.2020
    • Coman Kund, Florin, 'The territorial expansion of Frontex operations to third countries: on the recently concluded Status Agreements in the Western Balkans and beyond…',, 06.02.2020
    • Ziebritzki, Catharina, 'Refugee camps at EU external borders, the question of the Union’s responsibility, and the potential of EU public liability law',, 05.02.2020
    • Badenhoop, Elisabeth, 'Contextualising Frontex: A Long-Term Perspective on Database Monitoring of Migrants',, 04.02.2020
    • Hartwig, Samuel, 'Quo Vadis Frontex: Crossing the Fine Line Between Prevention and Repression?', 04.02.2020.
    • Moser, Carolyn, 'A very short introduction to Frontex—unravelling the trajectory of one of the EU’s key actors', 03.02.3020. 
  • Moser, Carolyn, 'Accountability in a multi-jurisdictional order', together with Gijs Jan Brandsma, in Scholten M. and Brenninkmeijer A. (Hrsg), Controlling EU Agencies. The Rule of Law in a Multi-jurisdictional Legal Order (Edward Elgar, forthcoming) EE website
  • Moser, Carolyn, 'Loin de l’Union, loin des juges?—Sur les voies de recours juridictionnelles dans le cadre des activités de sécurité et de défense extraterritoriales de l’Union européenne'. In: Wechselseitige Einflüsse zwischen Rechtsordnungen am Beispiel des Zugans zum Gericht gegen das Handeln der Exekutive, Layla Kristina Jaber, Stefanie Lüer, Anne-Marie Thévenot-Werner (Hrsg). Schwarze Reihe. (Springer, forthcoming) Pre-print Version
  • Moser, Carolyn, 'Integrating Contrasting Approaches: Civil–Military Cooperation in CSDP'. PeaceLab, 07.01.2020.
  • Moser, Carolyn, 'Frieden durch Recht aus französischer Perspektive' in Jäger S. and Heinz, W. (Hrsg), Frieden durch Recht. Rechtstraditionen und Verortungen (Springer, 2020) SpringerLink
  • Moser, Carolyn, 'Two Become One? On the Civil–Military Amalgamation of the CSDP'., 30.03.2019. 

Conference Papers

  • Moser, Carolyn & Rittberger, Berthold, The (de-)constitutionalization of EU security policies, commentary in the context of the workshop 'The transnational politics of emergencies', WZB, Berlin, June 2020
  • Moser, Carolyn, The External Dimension of EU Migration Control—A Security Perspective, invited talk at a conference of the Research Initiative on Migration of the Max Planck Society 'The Challenges of Migration and Integration', Munich, 17 June 2019
  • Moser, Carolyn, Lifting Pooling and Sharing to a Higher Level: The European Air Transport Command, presentation given at the 3rd Annual Conference of the European Initiative on Security Studies (EISS), Sciences Po, Paris, 27 June 2019
  • Moser, Carolyn, From safe distance to de facto convergence—Revisiting the civil-military nexus in EU security and defence, presentation at the workshop 'The European Union’s "New Defence Policy": European Military Integration in an Interdisciplinary Perspective', Justus Liebig Universität, Gießen, 18 January 2019