IES Policy Forum: The border and the wall. How to tackle migration control at the EU external border? - 31 May 2017, Brussels

Date: Wednesday, May 31, 16:00h -  18:00h.

Venue: The Institute for European Studies, Pleinlaan 5, B-1050 Brussels (Conference Room)

Border walls are again constructed in the Western world. In the U.S. but also in the EU some governments such as Spain and Hungary enforce migration control by building strongly controlled fences and walls at their external borders. Beyond their symbolic value, these developments also show that countries try to close a ‘control gap’ by building walls (Cornelius and Tsuda 2004). The ‘control gap’ specifies the mismatch between official objectives in migration control policy and outcomes in implementation.

The policy forum debates whether and if yes, how the EU may tackle the gap and achieve its migration policy objectives without building walls. The EU is primarily interested in the prevention of irregular migration and the safe and orderly management of entry of tourists, migrants, and asylum seekers. The panelists will debate the effectiveness of these border functions in the light of reforms of EU border and asylum policy, i.a. the establishment of the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) as well as the Commission’s proposal on an Entry-Exit system. The key challenge for the EU external border will be the question whether these and other instruments will be sufficient to control migration while respecting human rights and avoiding the construction of new border walls in Europe

Panelists will debate questions such as:

  • What determines effective and legitimate control at the EU external border?
  • A ‘smart’ border – or a ‘dumb’ wall. What is the difference?  
  • How to tackle irregular migration and migrant smuggling?
  • How to balance the human right to leave the territory of a state with effective border and migration control?


Chair: Christof Roos, Research Professor, IES, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Panel participants:

Sandra Kostner, Researcher, University of Schwäbisch-Gmünd

Giovanni Cioffi, Irregular Migration and Return Policy, DG Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission

Vladimír Šimonák, Head of Unit Home Affairs, Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU

Sergio Carrera, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Justice and Home Affairs Unit, CEPS

Tony Mouton, Federal Police Belgium

The event will take place at the premises of the Institute for European Studies. To register, please fill in the online registration form.

Questions? Contact us at This Policy Forum is organized in cooperation with SOURCE.

Publication Date: 
Wed, 24 May 2017
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