In austerity-stricken Europe, increasing funds are flowing to arms and security firms positioning themselves as experts on border control. Researcher Mark Akkerman documents the companies profiting from E.U. border externalization and the industry’s lobbying power.
Nikolai Huke, David Bailey, Mònica Clua-Losada, Julia Lux, Olatz Ribera Almandoz
02 May 2018
EU institutions and governments responded to the Eurozone crisis with a combination of austerity and authoritarianism that increased precarity and eroded liberal democracy. However, a survey of social movements shows that this technocratic depoliticization was only partially successful as the increasing exclusion of people from democratic decision-making also sparked novel forms of organizing that have opened up potential avenues for radical social change.
The EU has made migration control a central goal of its foreign relations, rapidly expanding border externalisation measures that require neighbouring countries to act as Europe's border guards. This report examines 35 countries, prioritised by the EU, and finds authoritarian regimes emboldened to repress civil society, vulnerable refugees forced to turn to more dangerous and deadly routes, and European arms and security firms booming off the surge in funding for border security systems and technologies.
Member states of the European Union and Schengen Area have constructed almost 1000 km of walls, the equivalent of more than six times the total length of the Berlin Walls, since the nineties to prevent displaced people migrating into Europe. These physical walls are accompanied by even longer ‘maritime walls’, naval operations patrolling the Mediterranean, as well as ‘virtual walls’, border control systems that seek to stop people entering or even traveling within Europe, and control movement of population.
In May 2015, the party Por Cádiz Sí Se Puede (the local version of Podemos) took over the government of Cádiz, inheriting a situation of massive debt, widespread energy waste, severe unemployment, energy poverty, and a lack of public awareness around energy issues. In just a few years, however, Cádiz has celebrated a number of concrete results.