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Barnard College of Columbia University

Publication Date

Spring 2023

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy


This paper seeks to analyze the intersection between the EU’s increasingly securitized and externalized policies towards migration, and instances of the weaponization of migration on the EU’s external borders. Although scholars have analyzed cases in which states harness migrants as political weapons, depoliticized most depictions apply a moralistic lens that frames these cases as aberrant, decontextualized, and political events. This paper will complicate understandings of the weaponization of migration by analyzing how EU policies of externalization and securitization systematically shape the environment in which it becomes politically advantageous for leaders, such as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Alexander Lukashenko, to resort to the coercive manipulation of migration flows. This paper will illustrate how the EU, by treating migrants as first and foremost a matter of state security, creates the transactional logic that recent incidents of coercive engineered migration then harness as a tool against the Union. The current study will draw on information garnered from four interviews with experts in migration diplomacy and international relations, as well as a multitude of peer-reviewed secondary sources. It builds upon theories in the fields of security studies, migration diplomacy and the weaponization of migration.


Defense and Security Studies | European History | Immigration Law | International Law | International Relations | Migration Studies


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