Migration Working Group on ‘Addressing the Externalisation of EU Migration Management’

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from: 11:00
to: 12:30

The Migration Working Group will host the following presentations on the theme of ‘Addressing the Externalisation of EU Migration Management’:

‘European Crimes Against Humanity: Migration Policy as an Atrocious Crime?’ by Omer Shatz, Policy Leader Fellow (STG)

Human Rights Law fails to protect the lives and rights of ‘migrants’. Scholars provide two contradictory accounts of this failure: the first claims the law fails to enforce breaches of human rights. The second claims there is no law. Against both narratives I argue that the Law is present and enforced. Strangely, however, the broader its reach, the direr the breach: the success of the liberal endeavour has become self-defeating. To avoid the ever-expanding rule of human rights, states externalize their migration policies. Outside the pale of law, serious breaches of human rights are further aggravated. The externalized policies, designed to avoid state responsibility, end up triggering individual responsibility.

EU migration policies in the Mediterranean are a good case study to substantiate this argument. From 2014, 20,000 civilians were killed by drowning in the Mediterranean, while more than 50,000 others were intercepted, forcibly transferred and subjected to atrocious crimes in Libya.
These policies may be framed as a systematic and widespread attack directed against a civilian population within the meaning of the Rome Statute and under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. In lieu of Human Rights Law, this paper considers International Criminal Law as a better framework to regulate Western migration policies.

‘At the Crossroads of Social Capital and Teichopolitics: A New Research Agenda on the Influence of the Politics of Border Creation Over the Use of Social Capital in Irregular Migration and Human Smuggling’ by Andrew Fallone, MA Researcher (STG)

Recently enacted European Union migration management policies display a critical lack of understanding of the role of social capital in both migrants’ selection and smugglers’ modus operandi. Derived from the Greek τείχος meaning ‘city wall,’ this presentation will seek to elucidate how teichopolitics can act as a catalyst to transform the use of social capital for both service providers and purchasers. Teichopolitics creates new obstacles on migrants’ journeys, acutely impacting migrants with constrained liquidity, diminished agency, or limited access to social capital. Rather than halting their journeys, such migrants are more likely than others to divert to alternative migration routes or smuggling service providers in order to find an affordable mode of migration. Such diversion both negates the protective benefits of migrants’ network social capital, and encourages migrants to rely more heavily on a more limited number of smuggling service providers, thereby engendering new dangers on their journeys.

This paper seeks to found a new research agenda that endeavors to understand the ways in which securitized and externalized migration management policy intersects with the protean landscape of social capital. Researching the role of social capital, and what modifies its ‘use,’ is crucial to developing evidence-based policy that safeguards migrant welfare.


  • John Trajer (PhD Researcher, EUI)


  • Constanze Edelhoff (PhD Researcher, EUI)
  • Andrew Geddes (Director, MPC)