At the Heart of Fortress Europe II: The Politics of Fear


Part II of the study At the Heart of Fortress Europe published in August 2022

This study provides a broad mapping of Austrian-based actors, organisations, and multilateral cooperation involved in the pushbacks of people on the move. For their part, the Austrian-based actors are heavily involved in the border externalisation policies of the whole European Union.

Austria has been active in border regime externalisations and policing in the Balkans for decades. Its actions are often implemented through different platforms, networks, and modes of cooperation that include other EU countries on bi- and multilateral levels.

Austria’s preferred method in strengthening externalisation structures is to build strong connections with politicians in the region, in exchange for presumed assistance in the uncertain and slow-moving European integration processes, accompanied by the strengthening of the economic ties and investments in the region.

Part II of the study shows that on the ground, police agencies are more involved in “managing” migrations than are legal experts or humanitarian organisations. This approach has led to shifting the main focus away from establishing structures that meet the needs of people on the move and basic human rights – including the right to asylum or simply the right to freedom of movement – to combating smugglers, presented as the biggest challenge for the states, borders, and migrants. In this regard, the Austrian approach mirrors the EU one.

At the Heart of Fortress Europe II: The Politics of Fear
Austria’s Role in Border Externalisation Policies in the Balkans

Authors: Nidžara Ahmetašević & Klaudia Wieser 
Cover & Layout: Nora Garcia.
April 2024. 31 pages.


Please find the ePaper on the right/below (mobile version) in ‘Documents’ (English, PDF).


Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Bordering Balkans
Joint Solutions: Police Cooperation and Return
Increasing Violence along the EU’s Frontiers
Concentration, Detention and Deportation
News Articles and Blog Posts