#geopolitical fridays: EU, state-building and the refugee crisis

Syrian refugees march toward Greece’s border along a highway on Sept. 18, 2015. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Happy geopolitical Friday! To conclude my series of posts on state stability, state fragility, state-building and foreign intervention, here comes an interesting take on the EU and its timid moves in the direction of transforming into an entity with real state characteristics. The crux of the matter? Borders, borders, borders, and the ability to protect them.

In an article published this February, Daniel Fiott, Senior Editor at European Geostrategy makes an interesting argument. Much as NATO has been reinvigorated by Russia’s stirrings in the East, the ongoing refugee crisis could act as a catalyst for EU state-building, by fusing the Common Security and Defense Policy with border management. But this is not without danger:

“From one viewpoint this development should concern supporters of the
CSDP because it moves the policy away from crisis management and hard
power towards an area of policy that involves police work, customs,
judicial matters and – potentially – an enormous backlash from civil
society and NGOs regarding a purported ‘militarisation’ of border
policy. Far from putting CSDP on an ambitious footing that secures
European interests and power, any creep towards border management may
significantly water-down the policy. Can one live with a CSDP that is no
more than a ‘glorified border force’?”

Stranger things have happened! However, the EU will not be dispensed from state-building elsewhere, with all the risks that entails.

Johanna M

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