Mohile Parikh Centre for Contemporary Culture (MPC3), Bombay
March 25th, 2005
11.00 am – 1.30 pm

External Border of EU: Enlargement in the East, Blocking the South?
Irregular Migration and the Geopolitics of Wealth and Poverty.

During the nineties high technology, transborder police cooperation and readmission agreements became the con-cerns of the new fortress Europe. Most migrants arrested by the border police, however, were not victims of the technological barrier but people denunced by the local population due to their phenotypical appearances. Trans-border migration thus continues to raise questions about the geopolitical order of wealth, poverty, stability and war. The external border that the industrialised countries create is nothing else than a wall – a spatial answer to the global social question.In the nineties, the concept of the enemy defined refugees as trafficed people or members of the organized crime net-works, a premise devised to control the transformation pro-cess in Eastern Europe. The enlargement of the EU resulted in the regularisation of Eastern migration and in the reduction of organized crime hysteria. In contrast, in the Mediterranean region, though Morocco, Algeria, Egypt etc signed read-mission agreements like Poland and the Czech Republic, the benefits of lax visa regulations awarded to Polish or Czech citizens were not extended to these countries. Hence, these people are left with no other choice than to cross the sea border as irregular migrants ‘boat people’. More recently, the concept of migrants as enemies has been linked with terrorism and it is presumed that boat people and Islamic terrorists are backed by the same networks.

Helmut Dietrich (Berlin) is a historian, social scientist and activist working with refugees and issues of migration. He has co-founded a grass-root-center for learning and social activities, The research Center for Migration, Mehringhof, Berlin. The themes of his publications include the fortress Europe and the German/European border regime.

Respondent: Rubaica Jaliwala (Bombay), Intercultural educator

 

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