Europe in the World

Competing priorities at the EU's external border

28 November 2018
Katharina Bamberg (Policy Analyst), Francesca Fabbri (Former Policy Analyst at the EPC) and Frank Mc Namara (Former Policy Analyst at the EPC)

In 2015, there was a significant increase in the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean and arriving on European shores. The numbers were such that the phenomenon became known in the public debate as the ‘migration crisis’. Numbers have since diminished to what is perceived to be a much more manageable level.

The crisis period, however, continues to reverberate within European politics and to drive law and policy reform. Much of that reform has focused on how the European Union (EU) manages its external border and especially the role that foreign policy plays in that management. This Issue Paper seeks to shed some light on the interplay between border management and foreign policy, and to make recommendations for a more integrated and consistent European approach.

Collectively, the chapters in this Issue Paper acknowledge that cooperation with third countries to control migration and manage the external border is inevitable. However, they argue that the EU must make a number of law and policy decisions to enhance the coherence and effectiveness of border management and foreign policy measures in the pursuit of lasting, sustainable solutions that reflect core EU principles. Only by doing so will the Union achieve a border management approach that can be ‘all things to all men’ in balancing security with respect for fundamental rights.

Download here

In this programme


Programme Team

Head of Europe in the World programme and Senior Fellow

Giovanni Grevi

Researcher in EU energy and climate policy, Institute of European Studies, Free University of Brussels

Marco Giuli

Senior Policy Analysts

Paul Ivan
Amanda Paul

Junior Policy Analyst

Ivano di Carlo