Fortress Europe – Migration at Europe’s External Border

Sur-Place Dialogue Italy: Voices from the Border.

It appears to be getting ever more difficult to enter ‘Fortress Europe’. Fences and ditches are built and maintained to keep out uninvited guests; police forces and border guards are employed to patrol the ‘gates’. How do Europeans and non-Europeans experience this Fortress?

We are a group of German students from the student’s forum within the Toenissteiner Kreis. Driven by this question, we previously visited the Spanish/Moroccan border in 2008 and the Greek/Turkish border in 2012. September 2014 now takes us to the external border in Italy. In collaboration with a group of Italian students from ASMiRA, we seek views on Europe’s external border from migrants, border guards, locals, and municipal politicians alike to contrast them with European policies and ‘official’ perspectives from Brussels, the ‘heart’ of Europe.

This blog provides a space for dialogue between Lampedusa and Brussels, migrants and border guards, Italian students and German students. It is a platform for exchange where the various voices from the border find a place.


Who we are

We are Janna, doctoral student in law in Amsterdam and Sydney; Julia, doctoral student in law in Berlin, Klaas, doctoral student in law in Köln, Florian, doctoral student in economics in Leipzig, Nele, doctoral student in psychology in Dresden and Clara, Master’s student in Public Policy and Management in Berlin and Paris. While none of us concentrate on the particular issue of ‘Fortress Europe’ in our studies, we felt the urgent need to better understand the context where ‘our’ Europe closes its doors to those seeking entry and allows for their deaths in the process.




The project takes place from 2 to 11 September 2014. Our itinerary foresees Rome, Bari, Sicily, Lampedusa and Brussels. In Rome, the main focus will be on Italian migration policies as well as migrants’ and asylum seekers’ living conditions in Italy. In Bari, the focus will be on the Dublin regulation and onward travel from Greece. In Sicily and Lampedusa, the outermost ‘walls’ of the fortress, we will focus on first arrival in the European Union. And finally, we will take these impressions back to Brussels, the ‘heart’ of Europe.

Stay tuned for updates as September draws closer!


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