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Fortress Europe, Schengen and the European Sphere

“[H]ow can the public debate necessary to make the EU a genuine ‘land of immigration’ take place if there is no common, democratic European ‘public sphere’, and no space for genuine intra-European political debate? The desire for such debate is connected to the need for a common sphere of social and public interaction within the EU, the absence of which is in part attributable to the lack of a common langauge”

Dario Melossi (2012): The Process of Criminalization of Migrants and the Borders of ‘Fortress Europe’

In the absence of a common language, there is art. In the absence of a common, democratic public sphere there are common narratives that evolve. Schengen becomes politicised. Non-compliant border controls contested. Films are made. Songs are played.

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‘Festung Europa’ via Aspekte. German band.

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‘Fortress Europe’ via Google. British band.

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‘Fort Europe’ via Youtube. Swedish band.

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‘Schengen’ via a French friend. French singer.

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‘Schengen macht frei’ via Global Voices. Turkish band.

PS (updated):Nobody has said the European Public Sphere needs to be newspaper based. Nobody has said the European Public Sphere can only discuss the bright side of life. Nobody has said that audiovisual art could not bridge the language divide.

6 Responses to Fortress Europe, Schengen and the European Sphere

  1. In a recent training course, we developed a simulation exercise dealing with Schengen and Fortress Europe. It was largely based on the research and investigation of one of my personal heroes, Gabriele del Grande, who runs and has documented that at least 18.578 people have died since 1988 in their attempt to reach the Fortress Europe.

    Preview of our scenario:

    In an atmosphere of hopelessness, the Parliament of the European Union and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have decided to meet, for the first time, in joint session to discuss and shape the future of Europe.

    One of the most controversial motions tabled comes from the Pirate Party: They suggest to extend the Schengen area to include all member states of the Council of Europe and to change the external border policies to comply with human right principles.

    I really hope that, one day soon, a European public sphere emerges that kicks ass. Every song, every movie, every poem, every article helps. The sooner, the better, the more, the merrier.

  2. All material we used is available at – the scenario, all role descriptions, the motion by the pirates, an introductory movie I couldn’t resist making, and a fake newspaper which we used to spice things up a little during the simulation.

  3. avatar Ronny Patz says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Andreas! And it’s indeed a shared hope that we’ll be able to open borders on the inside and the outside in a near future.

  4. avatar Ronny Patz says:

    Oh, and it’s worth checking out the following two blogs on this topic:
    -> EASO Monitor
    -> Migrants at Sea

  5. Thanks for the pointers Ronny! Very useful, added them to the simulation resources right away.

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