EU migration and asylum policy is facing tough challenges at the southern borders of the Union as migration and asylum pressures rise, fuelled by political instability and poverty in several regions of Asia and Africa. Current European border control practices create three spaces of control: externalised borders, through readmission and return agreements which enrol third countries in border control; the EU borders themselves through the work of Frontex and the development of a whole arsenal of technology tools for controlling mobility to and from the EU; and the Schengen area, whose regulations tend to reinforce deterrence at the borders through the Smart Border System. As a result, the EU's balancing act between irregular migration control and protection of refugees and human life clearly tips towards the former, even if it pays lip service to the latter. More options for mobility across the Mediterranean and more cooperation for growth are essential ingredients of a sustainable migration management policy on the EU's southern borders. In addition asylum management could benefit from EU level humanitarian visas issued at countries of origin.
Keywords: European Union, migration, refugee, human rights, Mediterranean, Greece