Sub-project A.4

Territoriality, Public Authority, and Human Rights: the EU’s Border Regimes

Project A.4 focuses on the legal regimes of the EU’s internal and external borders. It examines the scope, forms, and consequences of the humanrightization of (state) borders – a place shaped by legal norms, administrative practices, and infrastructures where public authority intervenes in migration processes. The project analyzes selected conflicts concerning the regulation of mobility at borders. In particular, the project is interested in how requirements deriving from fundamental and human rights that concern the exercise of public authority at borders (or in border areas) are reflected, modified, ignored, contested, or violated in the complex architecture of EU border regimes.

The project understands borders as a relevant structure of migration societies where conflicts over inclusion or exclusion of migrants are carried out. At borders, these struggles are intrinsically linked to the physical movement of persons across borders and its legal qualification, but they also relate to practices such as detention at, or in proximity to, the border. In analyzing such conflicts, the project uses a territorial concept of borders, i.e., it is specifically interested in the role that borders play, as concrete places, in the broader context of a spatially diversified regime of regulating migration processes.

Two specific border regimes will be studied in detail within the framework of the project: the regime of the EU’s internal borders and the border regime of European airports. With regard to the European internal borders, the project examines how the EU’s constitutional objective of providing an “area without internal frontiers” is realized by means of legislation, in particular in the Schengen Borders Code. The project investigates what scope remains for the exercise of public authority at internal borders, how this discretion is used by EU Member States, and what conflicts arise in that context (dissertation project of Leon Züllig). The airport as a border area is characterized by the interaction of a multitude of legal fields. The relevant regulations are closely controlled by public and private actors in terms of time and space. Studying this border regime, which is geared towards total control of all mobility processes, makes it possible to address fundamental questions of the relationship between public authority and basic individual rights (dissertation project of Anna Arden).

In methodological terms, the project is primarily oriented towards legal doctrine. It will, however, take up contributions from social sciences that describe the EU as a political territory, and make use of findings from interdisciplinary border studies in the context of legal scholarship. From the perspective of EU constitutional law, the hitherto underdeveloped federal approach to the territoriality of the EU will be deepened.

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bast

Research Associates: Anna Arden, Leon Züllig

Justus Liebig University Giessen