Political Economy of Entry Governance

The entry of migrants has been the focus of public, political and technological discussions and
initiatives within the EU. Underpinning entry to the EU level are practices of enforcement and
infrastructures of border control. Some are physical, like border guards, others, such as biometric
databases and maritime surveillance systems are digital and technological. At the level of public
and political discourse, border technologies and new security systems are often portrayed as a
panacea to deal with irregular border crossing and political discussions about immigration in
European societies. However, the assumption that border control systems constitute neutral
technological fixes disregards not just that they constitute interventions against inherently
political problems, but also that the systems themselves are produced through political and
economic processes. Consequently, this deliverable is founded on the outlook that any careful
analysis of EU entry governance needs to take into account the political economy of border control
practices, and how they can be shaped by concerns other than about migration, and by other
actors than the public bodies and institutions of the EU or its Member States.

This report details how private and commercial actors also yield a crucial influence on the
development, adoption and implementation of EU measures related to immigration. It is based
on the assumption that in order to provide the general public and policy-makers with tools to
pursue a sustainable and forward-looking policy on migration, the supply-chain of border
technologies, functions and infrastructures must be acknowledged. The same is the case for the
way in which it features in the processes of multileveled EU border governance, and how
commercial actors are positioned and positioning themselves on a profitable market for EU border
control that is worth billions of euro. This perspective on border control challenges standard
assumptions which privilege the territorial unit of the nation-state, or the stated self-image of the
EU as a supranational area of freedom, security and justice.

In order to fulfill this goal, this deliverable providesa mapping of the political economy of
EU entry governance, realized through a database developed for the purpose, and analysis of the
data generated by it. This enables the identification and discussion of some of the key actors,
processes and networks of this political economy at the level of the EU through key illustrations
provided by two central policy drives which have evolved in European border control during the
last decades, namely: Interoperability and space surveillance for border control purposes. While
a focus on these two themes is not exhaustive, it is argued to be able to demonstrate dynamics,
silences and criticism, which needs to be addressed in EU entry governance.

Author(s): Lemberg-Pedersen, Martin et al.

Full Title: The Political Economy of Entry Governance

Publisher or Journal: Copenhagen: Aalborg University

Year of Publication: 2020

Document Type: PDF

Link: https://admigov.eu/upload/Deliverable_D13_Lemberg-Pedersen_The_Political_Economy_of_Entry_Governance.pdf

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