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

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