This workshop intends to bring together a range of researchers and activists who have engaged in North African contexts, in order to explore similarities as well as differences in the effects of EU migration control on the different regions and those who seek to cross them in order to travel to Europe. We want to offer and reflect on nuanced accounts of current developments and transformations in North Africa, in order to both sharpen our analysis and work toward closer transborder collaborations in the future. We will begin the workshop with short inputs from those engaged in the different regions and then have a discussion in which we will raise some of the following questions: In what ways, and to what extent, do EU border enforcement policies impact the situation in the different North African contexts? What forms of (migration) struggles exist, and what aspects of EU border externalisation and local border enforcement do they contest? How well do activist and academic cooperation thrive in the different regions? What are positive examples and what are some of the challenges in terms of generating deeper exchanges and connections? How successful are attempts to move beyond a ‘mere’ focus on issues around migration and that connect those to important (other) socio-political questions and struggles? Are we limiting our (Kritnet) approaches too much on the repercussions of the EU border regime and thereby miss some of the other crucial socio-political factors that shape the situation in North Africa and the living situations of migrants there? Are we really listening to voices and perspectives that come from the North African region without imposing our own conceptions and analyses?
The EU-Turkey statement transformed the Greek-Turkish border regime. The Greek Hotspot Islands, intended to function as deportation hub to Turkey were above all made into buffer zones, keeping migrants trapped on the edge of Europe for more than a year. The border controls between Greece and Turkey were increased and deportations to Turkey facilitated. After the readmission to Turkey, many migrants are detained and then eventually deported back to their countries of origin.
The workshop will bring together different perspectives on this transformation since the long summer of migration. The living situation of migrants in urban contexts, in camps and in pre-removal centres, both in Turkey and in Greece will be discussed and analyzed, focusing on the pre- and post-deportation situation of migrant and also looking at resistance movements.
In addition, the situation for migrants crossing from Turkey to Greece will be discussed, carving out the status quo after two years EU-Turkey deal. Overall, current and future tendencies of the evolvement of the EU-Turkish border regime shall be identified and as an outlook, possible interventions will be discussed.
In March 2016 the “formalized corridor” over the Balkans was closed entirely, after access to it was limited from November 2015 on. However, cross-border mobility continues, being forced back into informality and confronted with considerable difficulties. Fences and surveillance equipment, massive police and military presence at the borders, regular and often violent push-backs led to thousands of refugees stuck in different Balkan countries. The workshop will start with short inputs on the recent situation in Hungary, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia and on the border zones, respectively. Afterwards it will be discussed what similarities and differences regarding migrant and state practices, new laws, infrastructure measures, criminalization of irregular migration and supporting networks can be observed. To what extend are/can they be influenced by the European Union, as well as by the European Court of Human Rights and other international institutions? How migrant and solidarity struggles can fight the massive scale of push-backs and criminalisation of migration?