Access denied: Secrecy and the externalisation of EU migration control

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For at least three decades, the EU and its Member States have engaged in a process of “externalisation” – a policy agenda by which the EU seeks to prevent migrants and refugees setting foot on EU territory by externalising (that is, outsourcing) border controls to non-EU states. The EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum, published in September 2020, proposed a raft of measures seeking to step up operational cooperation and collaboration in order to further this agenda.

This report aims to contribute to public and political debate on the transparency, accountability
and legitimacy of the externalisation agenda. It contains a series of case studies on
three key target states for the EU – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco and Niger – based
on information received in response to access to documents and freedom of information
requests submitted to institutions within those countries, as well as within the EU itself.

Product details
Date of Publication
December 2022
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union & Statewatch
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents

Executive summary
Operationalising the New Pact on Migration and Asylum
The externalisation of migration control: a longstanding priority
High-level diplomacy for migration control
Boots on the ground in Niger
Extending the Deportation Union to the Balkans
Influence operations in Morocco
EU agencies seek a foothold in Morocco
Annex I: Overview of requests and responses
Annex II: Attendees at the Ministerial Return Conference, February 2022