Risk analysis as a governance tool in European border control

Authored by: Regine Paul

The Routledge Handbook of the Politics of Migration in Europe

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201187
eBook ISBN: 9781315512853
Adobe ISBN:


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Since its creation in 2004 Frontex has heavily relied on risk analysis as a foundation for its own operations as well as for fulfilling its mandate vis-á-vis the Commission and member states. This handbook chapter reviews how scholars of European migration and border control have conceptualized Frontex risk analysis and accounted for its growing relevance. In doing so, it establishes two functions of risk analysis in European migration governance: (1) a Foucauldian securitization of migration and (2) an organizationally oriented institutionalization of EU migration governance in a weakly integrated domain. By discussing how these perspectives help to account for the increasing relevance of risk analysis in this domain, the chapter also identifies features of European exceptionalism in the EU’s governance of migration and borders. From that perspective, it seems that the ‘EU-ness’ of Frontex risk analysis lays not so much in its use as an assessment tool which securitizes migrants and migration, but in enabling a non-mandated emergence of the Community as a genuine, and increasingly dominant, high-risk regulator which reach far beyond the confines of the Union itself.

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