This paper deals with policing the external borders of the European Union (EU), an issue that recently has witnessed significant developments in connection with the externalisation of the fight against undocumented migration. After a presentation of the conceptual elements underpinning the research (1), the paper presents the EU agency Frontex and its origin, tasks and responsibilities (2). The next section will focus on Frontex-led operations carried out at the southern maritime border (3), in order to critically look at issues arising in this context (4), with reference to their legal framework. The results of my analysis will be discussed in connection with the externalisation of migration policies, arguing that the EU and Member States (MSs) have engaged into a multiple exercise of venue shopping, to conclude with a (hopeful) outlook on the future, with the Lisbon Treaty providing new possibilities to fix current problems (5).
External borders, FRONTEX, Rule of law, Externalisation
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