IN A NUTSHELL
The matrix of European security has drastically changed in the last decade. As a result, the ‘borderlines’ of EU security policies are shifting—in terms of space, time, and form. Indeed, EU states increasingly seek to tackle security problems early on and in faraway places, that is before they turn into actual threats, and they often use informal means to do so. These new realities pose, however, a range of governance challenges, such as weak democratic scrutiny, limited judicial review, and incomplete administrative control.
Against this backdrop, the group sets out to disentangle the legal and policy features of European security—principally border control, migration management, and cyber resilience—and seeks to explain how these features (re)configure the law and 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
The matrix of European security has drastically changed in the last decade. The EU finds itself in an increasingly challenging geopolitical situation. Suffice to mention the fading US commitment to NATO, Russia’s confrontational stance at Europe’s Eastern and Southern borders, Turkey’s ambivalent posture, and China’s assertive foreign policy, including in the EU’s neighbourhood. In addition, many of today’s vital security issues—such as malicious cyber activities, migratory streams, or pandemics—transcend traditional territorial borders and thus render multilateral efforts inevitable.
To cope with these novel realities, the EU and its member states have incrementally adapted their laws and politics of security. Three intertwined factors have been key in this development, namely (i) space, (ii) time, and (iii) form. As far as space is concerned, states’ static territorial confines lose their significance, while more fluid and rather functional borders gain traction. Regarding time, we witness a temporal advancement of activities, which echoes the continuously broadening threat perception underpinning security policies. Hence, EU states increasingly seek to tackle security problems early on and in faraway places, that is before they turn into actual threats for EU states. This readjustment also leaves its mark on form, that is the legal and operational methods employed: informality together with a low level of transparency are pivotal to the new EU security matrix.
The reconfiguration of EU security policies, hence, prompts serious governance questions as it leaves us with a highly intricate governance architecture in which democratic scrutiny, judicial review, administrative control, and transparency are largely absent. Although the discrepancy between policy realities and governance requirements is not security specific—many EU policies first expand, while appropriate governance arrangements follow later—the perils deriving from an unsettled governance framework for security matters are particularly grave as security is at the very core of public power.
The objective of borderlines is to explore the evolving governance features of EU security policies. The project hence pursues a three-fold objective: Next to (a) disentangling the new legal and policy features of European security—principally border control, migration management, and cyber resilience—the project seeks to explain (b) how these features (re)configure the governance architecture in place, and (c) to evaluate the governance credentials of the legal and institutional status quo.
To achieve this three-fold objective, the borderlines project employs an interdisciplinary approach: an in-depth desk study of legal and official sources will be complemented by empirical data (gained through semi-structured interviews) which, in turn, is expected to lead to original conclusions that are of relevance to both legal scholars and political scientists.
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 Governance of Security and Defence. 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 key peer reviewed publications include a prize-winning monograph with OUP on accountability in EU security and defence (2020) and a co-edited book on the legal framework of the OSCE (CUP, 2019).
Dr Tarek Tutunji
Tarek Tutunji received his PhD in Political Science in 2019 from Johns Hopkins University with a dissertation on the emergence of informal rules around propaganda and covert action during the Cold War. His research focusses on informal institutions in world politics. He is currently studying the international institution developing around disinformation. He is particularly interested in understanding the emerging European regulatory framework to respond to the malicious manipulation of social media.
Felicitas has been studying law at the University of Heidelberg since autumn 2014, with a one-year intermittence at the University of Strasbourg. As a scholarship-holder of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, she investigated the sociology of law in an interdisciplinary research group led by Prof. Marauhn. Next to her solid knowledge of international law – her major – she enriches the team with practice insights gained through an internship at the Staatsministerium in Stuttgart and her Slavic language skills.
Lukas has been a law student at the University of Heidelberg since autumn 2017, with a one-year study abroad period at Sciences Po Paris. 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.
Former team members and affiliates
Rabia Ferahkaya — research assistant (2019–20)
Mohamed R. Abdelsalam — affiliated PhD researcher (2020–21)