At the gate: Civil and military protection of Europe's borders

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The migratory pressures on Europe’s borders present the EU with an enormous challenge to get its act together. While the objectives and mandates of internal and external security actors increasingly overlap, these actors often still live in separated worlds. This Policy Brief analyses how the EU’s border security can be strengthened through a more joined-up approach between internal and external security actors. Furthermore, it looks into how civil-military connectivity in border security can be changed from the existing ad hoc nature to more structural cooperation.

Despite the EU deal with Turkey in early 2016, the migration pressure on Europe’s borders persists. The Syrian war lingers on, while instability and conflicts in Northern Africa continue to offer human traffckers ample opportunities to conduct their dirty business. Many politicians earmarked 2016 as the political breakthrough year in halting massive migration flows to Europe.

Stepping up the protection of Europe’s borders can certainly help to better manage migration flows. Yet, gatekeeping alone will not solve the problem. Cooperations agreements have been signed, but further steps are needed to translate this into action. With so many actors involved in mapping the routes and modus operandi of smugglers, sharing information is crucial to ensure the complementarity of action and to avoid any duplication of efforts. This also requires an increase in civil-military cooperation concerning capablities.