In its May 2015 European Agenda on Migration, the European Commission introduced the EU hotspot approach to manage the “refugee crisis” and to assist frontline member states facing disproportionate migratory pressures. With multiple European Union agencies working on the ground in Greece and Italy to identify, register, and fingerprint incoming migrants and asylum seekers, the hotspot system is intended to ensure that all individuals are registered upon arrival and channelled into asylum, return, or relocation procedures.
However, various aspects of the operations of hotspots have been criticized by UN bodies, civil society organisations, and scholars, who have highlighted the unclear division of roles and responsibilities between EU agencies and host member states, the blurred line between detention and reception, substandard material conditions, a lack of transparency, and differential treatment based on nationality, among a host of other concerns.
This themed blog series organized by GDP Researcher Izabella Majcher for the Oxford University-based Border Criminologies examines the EU hotspot approach from the perspective of the right to liberty and freedom of movement, and asks whether the system complies with the lawful restrictions on freedom of movement and whether some of them may amount to de facto detention. Other contributions to the series are authored by experts in Italy and Greece who have assisted people detained or accommodated at hotspots, including lawyers from the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration in Italy and the Greek Council for Refugees.
I. Part I – The EU Hotspot Approach: Blurred Lines between Restriction on and Deprivation of Liberty (Izabella Majcher)
II. Part II – The EU Hotspot Approach: Blurred Lines between Restriction on and Deprivation of Liberty (Izabella Majcher)
III. Part III – The EU Hotspot Approach: Blurred Lines between Restriction on and Deprivation of Liberty (Izabella Majcher)
IV. Part IV – Detention and Selection: An Overview of the Italian Hotspot System. (Carlo Caprioglio, Francesco Ferri, and Luca Gennari)
V. Part V – The Taranto Hotspot: Unveiling the Development of EU Migration Management Policies (Carlo Caprioglio, Francesco Ferri, and Luc Gennari)
VI. Part VI – Asylum Seekers in Samos: An Unreasonable Reality (Stavros E. Papageorgopoulos)
VII. Part VII – Moria Refugee Camp: Restriction of Movement and Living Conditions (Mary Malafeka)