Securing Europe's Borders

The First Step to a Comprehensive Asylum Policy

Immigrants are escorted by German police to a registration center after crossing the Austrian-German border in Wegscheid near Passau, Germany, October 20, 2015. Michael Dalder / Reuters

When it comes to the ongoing influx of migrants into Europe, there is one thing that policymakers and officials seem to agree on: Europe needs to increase border security and establish a pan-European asylum policy. But the former has to come first. And getting it right will mean addressing three concentric “security circles”—outside Europe, at Europe’s borders, and inside Europe.


The European Neighborhood Policy was first conceived in 2003 as a means to create a “ring of friends” around the EU’s eastern and southern borders. After the onset of the Arab Spring, European policymakers felt the need to more specifically tailor the ENP’s approaches to different partner countries. The European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI), which was created in 2014 to provide a more solid financial footing for the ENP, moves in the right direction by focusing resources on a few selected countries rather than spreading funding out.

But more needs to be done. For example, the ENI’s budget of 15.4 billion euros, which is currently allocated according to rules set forth in Article 4.1 of Regulation 232/2014, could be disbursed with stricter conditionality and only to the most cooperative countries. Mutually agreed upon between the EU and partner countries, such conditions would concentrate on actually implementing economic, political, social, and democratic reforms as already envisioned. In this system, the ENI would continue to be managed by the European Union’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, but the development assistance that member states currently offer on a bilateral basis could be added to the ENI to boost its coffers.

Sea patrols are another issue. Operation Triton, which was launched in November 2014 in response to the refugee crisis and is conducted by Frontex but is under Italian command, should not be the effort of a single country. Each EU member state should contribute financial, human, and logistic resources in proportion to the number of votes it holds in the European Council. Currently, only Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.