Jean Monnet ‘New European Borderlands’ Network

Scientific manager: Stefano Bianchini

Unibo structure involved: Department of Political and Social Sciences - SPS
Unibo Team: Sonia Lucarelli, Michela Ceccorulli, Marco Zoppi, Claudio Delrio, Simona Nardini
Project Web page: https://cens.ceu.edu/projects/bordeur-jean-monnet-new-european-borderlands-network
Erasmus+ Action type: Jean Monnet Networks
Project reference: 611891-EPP-1-2019-1-HU-EPPJMO-NETWORK
Start Date: 14 September 2019
End Date: 13 September 2022
Budget: Total € 297,730.66, UNIBO € 48,828.98
Coordinator: KOZEP-EUROPAI EGYETEM (HU)
Partners:

UNIVERSITY OF NATIONAL AND WORLD ECONOMY (BG)
UNIVERSITÄT WIEN (AT)
UNIVERSIDAD POMPEU FABRA (ES)
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - UNIVERSITÀ DI BOLOGNA (IT)
THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD (GB)
MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY (TR)
REPUBLIC OF NORTH MACEDONIA GOCE DELCEV STATE UNIVERSITY STIP (MK)
KENTRO EREVNON NOTIOANATOLIKIS EVROPIS ASTIKI MI KERDOSKOPIKI ETAIREIA (EL)

Summary:
The 2015 “migration crisis” has put unprecedented pressure on the European Union’s (EU) institutions. The then current migration regime failed, and the uncontrolled inflow of migrants and refugees showed the inherent problems of the Schengen system all too clearly, leading to political tension among member states, with some opting for open-door policies, and others securitizing migration as a threat to national security. Some member states even erected border fences and introduced border control mechanisms within the Schengen Zone. Meanwhile, the EU itself is continuing to externalize its borders by creating “new borderlands” in North Africa, in Turkey and the Balkans.

Against this backdrop, BordEUr is a recently launched research network of nine universities that addresses the impact of these developments in the EU’s and in its member states’ bordering practices. Researchers of the BordEUr network believe that the European Union and member states’ quest for secure borders in the wake of the so-called migration crisis can serve as an illustration of more global trends. More specifically, the research team proposes to situate the problems faced by the Union in the multi-faceted global crisis of capitalism, democracy, and the middle classes, with a special focus on European right-wing populism as a pushback against the European project. New and re-emerging borders, writ large, will therefore serve as central concepts of BordEUr’s analysis. The project will answer the following general guiding question: How is the “migration challenge” impacting on the EU’s borders and “border-thinking” in Europe and beyond? With what effects? Other relevant sub-questions that the team seeks to explore are: 1) What meaning do the European Union, its member states and partner states assign to the border and to EU bordering policies? 2) To what extent does the sense of a European community represent a framework that can be used to avoid the increasing risk of a collapse of the perspective of integration; a risk that is fueled by populist politics which manipulate the false nexus migrants’ invasions/threat to national identity/security? 3) What does the current European politics of borders mean in terms of the EU’s identity as an international humanitarian actor? How could a perceived gap between promoted identity and policy practice affect the relationship between the Union and its partners?

The project is coordinated by the Center for European Neighborhood Studies (CENS) at the Central European University (Hungary). The UNIBO research team will be specifically involved in analyzing Italy’s responses to the migration crisis within the framework of the Adriatic-Ionian Macroregion, and in describing the impact of closed-ports policy, forced EU solidarity, and of the quest for a secure Mediterranean on the EU and the Western Balkans. In connection with the latter area, the UNIBO team will collaborate with Goce Delcev University in order to carry out a further case study in the Western Balkan countries. Moreover, UNIBO will host the first project workshop and conference in 2021.