The Southern Mediterranean

A testing ground and a litmus test for EU JHA policies and research?

Authored by: Sarah Wolff , Patryk Pawlak

The Routledge Handbook of Justice and Home Affairs Research

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138183759
eBook ISBN: 9781315645629
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the launch of the Barcelona Process in 1995 and later the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2003, the European Union’s (EU) relationship with Southern Mediterranean countries has been in constant flux. Today, the EU’s Southern neighborhood has shifted from Romano Prodi’s idealized status of a ‘ring of friends’ to a ‘ring of fire’. Instead of expected reforms, democratization and an easing in the relationship, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been plagued by conflict and violence, providing an image of regional disorder and uncertainty. Since the Arab uprisings, restrictions to mobility, changes in the control of EU borders and the stepping up of counter-terrorism and counter-radicalization efforts have moved to the top of the EU policy agenda. Overall, Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) expenses have never been so high, with an increase in spending of 163 percent between 2006 and 2011 (Sgueo 2016). Yet, according to Europol, terrorist attacks (either failed, foiled or completed) in the EU are on the rise, from 151 attacks in 2013 to 211 in 2015 (Europol 2016). 1 Simultaneously, although the EU has spent more than €1 billion on over 400 external migration projects worldwide (García Andrade and Martin 2015: 10), its capacity to deal with an increase in migratory fluxes is still limited, raising questions about the efficiency and effectiveness of the EU’s response.

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