Inside-out? Trajectories, spaces and politics of EU internal (in)security and its external dimension

Authored by: Julien Jeandesboz

The Routledge Handbook of Critical European Studies

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138589919
eBook ISBN: 9780429491306
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the politics of European Union (EU) internal security and its so-called ‘external dimension’ and explores what a critical take on them might look like. In the last few years, internal security has received heightened political and policy attention in Brussels. Besides the largely symbolic move that saw the European Commission establish the ‘Security Union’ and adopt the ‘European Agenda on Security’ in 2015, major accelerations and inflections have unfolded in relation to EU internal security in recent years, particularly in relation to counter-terrorism, border and migration control. Measures that had initially proven contentious due to their implications for fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the establishment of an EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) system, have been adopted, seemingly overnight. EU bodies in the field of justice and home affairs (JHA) have been granted new capacities and competencies, among other the establishment of a Counter-Terrorism Centre (CTC) at the EU agency for law-enforcement cooperation (Europol), or the transformation of the EU's external borders agency Frontex into the European Border and Coast Guards agency (EBCG) with an expanded mandate to deal with internal security matters, including organised crime and counter-terrorism. These transformations have largely been justified on the grounds that the EU has of late been facing a security as well as a migration and refugee ‘crisis'. In turn, these transformations have been hailed as ‘signalling a new era for security in Europe’, in the recent words of Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos (European Commission 2019).

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