What Are We Going to Do about Them? The Centrality of Borders in Fortress Europe
Confronted with the images that have been reaching us since the influx of refugees entered new dimensions last year in Europe, the term ‘Fortress Europe’ has been used over and over again to identify the continent’s concerns about security. What are we going to do with them? What do we know about them? All European governments seem to agree that a humanitarian state of urgency and emergency is on its way: a crisis of enormous proportions that is threatening the ‘soul’ and ‘authentic spirit’ of Europe. Across the Union, governments have struggled to develop an effective response, and mainly responded by transforming their borders into instruments of exclusion and prevention. This article discusses the centrality of the borders within the current political agenda, by conceptualising them as institutions of power, as processes of identity formation, and as performances. It focuses on the human costs of Fortress Europe, and its ongoing fight against the unwanted.