The project

Migration flows are currently characterized by plentiful multidimensional aspects in the spatial trajectories of migratory movements, including new destination countries in Southern and Eastern Europe, and increasing immigration flows from several parts of Africa, Middle, East, South Asia and Latin America – these are the new geographies shaping the migratory movements, that are at the same time encompassed by new temporalities and multi speeds: rather than settling in one country, many migrants react to evolving opportunities and constraints, relocating to places that offer better life prospects.

European Policy on migration has echoed, especially since the Arab Spring, the need to identify the root causes of migration, the push and pull factors of the upsurge of these migration flows, and ultimately to develop a new policy of migration that may truly reflect the long-term priorities of the Agenda on Migration.

In recent years, the migratory routes of the Mediterranean basin have undergone rapid and dramatic changes, which directly affect the political, social, and economic geography of international migrations. The Mediterranean is now the most lethal migratory corridor in the world, where routes from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia intersect. The Mediterranean Sea is the most permeable border between Europe and its southern neighbours, and is both bridge and wall between the two continents. South-North mobility in this region is not new, but has registered new proportions in recent years . Despite this fact, by 2011, the EU had only agreed mobility partnerships with four countries: Cape Verde, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia. Curiously, none of these particularly relevant in terms of migrant flux to Europe. 

Only after the Arab Spring, in an almost instant response to the uprisings, did the EU launch the “Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity”, thereby attempting to answer and stem the ultimate consequence of the uprisings: an uncontainable migratory flux from the Mediterranean towards Europe.4 This document opens the door not only for a new cooperation framework, but more importantly, to a new framework for the EU’s neighbourhood security dimension, especially relevant with regards to the management of the migratory flux. More importantly, it is this document that sheds light on the other dimensions of the migration crisis: the humanitarian dimension – the death toll by 2011 was hugely impressive; but also the security one – the novel breadth of EU’s security relations with its southern neighbourhood set in motion a new wave of agreements, policy initiatives and reinforced political action. Developments such as the FRONTEX and TRITON operations in the Mediterranean, and the succeeding EU policy on migration, mirrored the growing concern over the internal and external security of the Union. Speeches and policy papers upgraded from humanitarian to securitized, in tandem with the increasing number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean. The message replicated the need to secure the EU external borders emphasising a clear point: that migration is a problem that needs to be tackled at its source, following the perception that the threats are now of transnational, borderless and hybrid nature

EU policy on migration has been mirroring the blurring of the lines between internal and external security, and this fact has promoted and widened the already active market for security.9 This has been particularly true internally, at the policy- making level (essentially through lobbying), and externally, in particular in the Mediterranean region where the role of the private security actors in migration management is especially multifaceted – private actors are the main suppliers of top technological border control equipment and trained personnel. Moreover, providing on-the-ground expertise, private security actors also provide risk analysis for NGO’s, for Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations, support for FRONTEX operations.

One key aspect of this hybridisation is the growing ties between the representatives of the security industry and the European Commission. One of the most visible examples of this are the outcomes of the High-level Security Roundtables hosted and promoted by the European Organization for Security (EOS – the biggest private platform for security and defence industry based in Brussels) during the peak of the migrant crisis in 2011. The roundtables were held with the patronage of the EU  Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, and resulted in the reinforcement of the policies towards border control. One of the measures of greatest impact, operation HERMES, was launched days after the roundtable. Presently, EOS has an active cooperation with DG HOME, DG MARE and DG ENTR to support and advise the European Commission on several areas, namely smart border initiatives, as well as supporting the implementation of EUROSUR and helping with the design of the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE).

Taking into consideration the apparent growing importance of the private security industry in the design and implementation of EU migration management policies, I think that there is a need for a comprehensive and deep analysis, in order to understand the full extent and implications of this relationship. 



This project seeks to understand the increasing role of private security companies and the weight of the security industry in the way EU migration management policy is shaped and produced. Later advances, not only in security field in general, but also in the migration field, in particular, illustrate that the market for security is continuously … Continue reading H2020-MSCA-IF-2017

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period

Between December 2018 and November 2020, I have presented the findings in several international conferences and online workshops.
I had the opportunity to fully enjoy the benefits of the MSCA fellowship and I presented and moderated different panels in several international conferences such as UACES, EISA and BISA during 2019 and 2020.
I have published two peer-reviewed articles and I have submitted two additional ones in also negotiated a book contract with Edgar Elgar Book series.
Additionally, I have created and managed the International Centre for Policing and Security LinkedIn, YouTube Channel and Twitter where all the major outputs of the research of the ICPS are disseminated, including mine.
In October 2019 I was invited as Lecturer and Instructor in Border Security and Border Technology at COE-DAT NATO in Kuwait to deliver the modules on International organisations’ (UN, EU, OSCE, FRONTEX), perspectives on border security, achievements, challenges, Human and technological aspects of border security and Transnational and Hybrid Threats in Border Management and Security.
I am currently engaged in Hydra simulation teaching and instruction at the MSc in Policing and Risk Management at the USW and I have been applying qualitative meta-analysis and tools such as NVivo, MAXQDa and Power BI methodology. I also developed and maximised my quantitative analysis methods for horizon-scanning such as statistical, mathematical, and numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys,
As an instructor for COE-DAT NATO I had the opportunity to examine in practice the dimension of Frontex operations, namely in what regards the policy aspects related to the Human Factors on Border Control Management, the challenges and gaps posed to Frontex operations and the impacts of the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) to secure the EU’s external borders.

Expected results and potential impacts

The research has shed light on the role of private commercial actors and how they shape the EU migration policy agenda, by examining how the private security industry and defence sector have been portraying migration as a security threat and how they explore the anxiety factor to have a prominent role in the policy agenda.
By examining the public-private partnerships, lobbying activities and interviews this research analysed how these interactions occur in a dynamic external border, in particular in what regards border technology applied to migration management.
Following the Commission decision to initiate a close dialogue to enhance the competitiveness within the European security industry, the research acknowledges a growing relationship between the EU and private security and defence actors in all the migration areas related to detention, biometrics, security, defence and aerospace and how the so-called migration impacts have increased and boosted the securitization and militarization of the EU external borders.

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