This paper sheds light on the role of non-governmental/civil society organisations, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in the externalisation of migration management in Tunisia and Egypt. These organisations are involved in migration-related activities, which, from the externalisation perspective, should prevent people from attempting the sea-crossing to Europe, thus immobilising them in North Africa. The paper is an ethnographic border regime analysis drawing on extensive fieldwork. It shows that European Union-externalisation is not a univocal and smooth process. Instead, externalisation is entangled in a complex network of actors and dynamics. Measures meant to support externalisation may produce effects contrary to those envisaged, whereas practices accomplishing externalisation goals may be in fact the result of internalisation. By analysing the various actors in their diverse practices and in their—sometimes conflictual—relationships, the paper also tries to minimise state-centrism and Euro-centrism in the study of externalisation.
- migration and border regime