Free movement threatened by terrorism: an analysis of measures proposed to improve EU border management

Willemijn Tiekstra 25 Oct 2019

It is key to consider terrorism and migration as two separate policy fields. However, one has to acknowledge that these two fields can, in some exceptional cases, overlap. From 2015 onwards, a new wave of terrorist attacks has hit the European Union (EU). Combined with amplified fears of uncontrolled irregular migration movements, the EU’s free movement area has been put under strain. There are systems in place providing information to border authorities and law enforcement officers on individuals that cross EU external borders and on the movement of persons within the EU. Still, border management in the EU is considered a significant challenge while safeguarding the internal security of the EU and preserving Schengen. By describing three terrorism case studies, this Policy Brief illustrates that in the current operational landscape of EU border management, there are gaps in the information exchange between authorities. Subsequently, the paper analyses whether the new measures proposed to improve European border management remedy the identified flaws in border management systems and discusses whether the measures proposed are necessary and proportional to the objective pursued; namely, ensuring the safety of the EU and its citizens. It concludes by illustrating that, despite the newly introduced measures, the operational landscape of EU border management remains just as complex and that the required justification on infringements on fundamental rights cannot be established for all of the measures proposed.

Read the Policy Brief here.