EUROPEAN EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR 4/2/19-7/3/2019

“Management of the EU’s External Borders in the Eastern Mediterranean”

 

The Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence of the University of Athens organised an educational seminar titled “Management of the EU’s External Borders in the Eastern Mediterranean” and announced up to 30 scholarships.

 

The seminar took place within the framework of the European project “European Governance of Migration: The External Dimensions” (2017-2020), co-funded by the European Commission and the University of Athens. The Scientific Coordinator of the project is Professor Yannis Valinakis, President of the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence – University of Athens.

 

The course consisted of five weekly afternoon sessions, along with two researchers’ workshops and was addressed to public officers, diplomats, police and armed forces officers, students of police, military and coast guard academies, researchers of relevant specialties, as well as to any interested person.

 

Aim 

The objective of the seminar provided students with an overview of the governance of irregular migration, focusing on the management efforts and policies currently implemented by the EU. The course focused on the emerging responses to irregular migration and particularly maritime irregular migration to the EU from a critical and comparative perspective.

 

Participants had the chance to be part of a research group and published Policy papers or had an active role as rapporteurs. The programme also offered traineeship opportunities for university students, graduates, doctoral students or young professionals.

 

The lectures delivered in Greek and a distance learning option was also available.

 

Programme

Meeting Date Title
1st Monday 4/2/2019 External borders in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean: An overview
Researchers Workshop Thursday 6/2/2019 1st researchers’ meeting
2nd Monday 7/2/2019 The role of Frontex in the EU external borders’ management and protection
3rd Monday 18/2/2019 The EU external borders
4th Monday 25/2/2019 Challenges, threats, violations at the external borders of the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean (I)
5th Monday 4/3/2019 Challenges, threats, violations at the external borders of the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean (I)
Researchers Workshop Monday 7/3/2019 2nd Researchers’ meeting

 

 

 

External borders in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean: an Overview”

 

In the framework of the training seminar “Management of the EU’s external borders in the Eastern Mediterranean”, the 1st session entitled “External borders in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean: an Overview was successfully held on 4 February 2019.

 

The conversation began with the question raised by Professor Yannis Valinakis, President of the Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence at the University of Athens, regarding the identification of the national borders of Greece with the European borders.

 

Mr. Ioannis Stribis Assistant Professor at the University of the Aegean Programme Director of the Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence of the University of Athens analyzed the concepts of territorial sovereignty, integrity and inviolability of the border, including the definition, the meaning and the types of borders, with examples from the Greek frontiers. The first speaker also referred to the demarcation, delimitation and management of the land borders of Greece, with emphasis on the Greek-Turkish land borders, as well as on the creation and settlement of border incidents.

 

Professor of International and European Studies at the University of Athens, Ms Charitini Dipla in her presentation focused on the maritime frontier, starting from the multi-zone approach of the law of the sea. She pointed out the difficulties that arise due to the geographical tightness in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition, she examined the case of the continental shelf of the Eastern Aegean islands and the Turkish challenges. In conclusion, she took note of Greece’s prospects for maritime delimitation with third countries such as Libya, Egypt and Albania, referring at the same time at the importance of Greek-Turkish disputes.

 

The final speaker, Mr. Kostas Ifantis, Professor of Panteion University and Kadir Has University, Secretary General of the European Center for Excellence Jean Monnet focused on Greek-Turkish relations, mainly after the AKP’s rise to power. He referred to Turkey’s nationalism as an effort by Erdogan to strengthen his position and examined the prospects for progress in addressing the issues of violations of Turkey’s border and border claims, which are not at present very promising.

 

 

 

The role of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in the management and protection of the EU’s external borders

 

As part of the training seminar “Management of the EU’s external borders in the Eastern Mediterranean”, the 2nd session titled “The role of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in the management and protection of the EU’s external borders” took place on 11 February 2019.

 

The speakers tried, through examples and personal experiences, to familiarize the audience with the concepts of mountain ranges, sea and air borders in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as, the procedures for managing the borders.

 

Mr. Grigorios Apostolou, head of the FRONTEX Liaison Office in Greece, made a brief historical review since the establishment of FRONTEX, focusing on its role and cooperation with the Member States. He then described, in detail, the tasks of the organization and its actions and completed his speech by raising the question of whether the Member States, and in particular Greece, were provided with adequate support.

 

Mr. Georgios Christianos Commander of the Greek Coast Guard and head of the Integrated Maritime Surveillance Service focused on FRONTEX’s collaboration with the Integrated Maritime Surveillance Service (IOTHE), specifically referring to Operation POSEIDON 2018. He presented the Greek marine environment as an operational field of both, Police and Coast Guard Operations as means for more effective surveillance of the maritime borders.

 

Finally, Assist. Professor Ioannis Stribis analyzed the Regulation 2016/1624 of the European Parliament on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the European Commission’s proposal and the European Council’s stand. He then described the special references for maritime borders and concluded with the management of business plans within them.

 

 

 

The external borders of the EU

 

As part of the training seminar “Management of the EU’s external borders in the Eastern Mediterranean”, the 3rd session entitled “The external borders of the EU” was held on Monday, February 18th, 2019. The focus of the discussion was the existence, or not, of substantial European borders, with particular emphasis on the common fisheries policy, the common currency and the prospect of a common European defense and security policy.

 

The session began with Mr Theodoros Katsoufros’, Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence Researcher, National Kapodistrian University of Athens, Former member of the European Court of Justice

reference to the EU’s common fisheries policy. He noted the rights, obligations and ambiguities arising from the EU’s legal framework. He then referred to statements made by noted political figures supporting the recognition of solid European borders. Along the way, he switched to Greek-Turkish disputes and international conflicting fishing interests. He also highlighted the difficulties in the Eastern Mediterranean and the objective of jointly establishing fishing zones.

 

Ms. Maria-Meng Papantoni Associate Professor of European Law at the Panteion University of Athens then examined the EU’s functions as an international organization that produces justice and has its own instruments. She began her analysis with the historical retrospection from the Treaty of Rome, and the internal market, to the Treaty of Lisbon and the shaping of a common currency. However, she also noted the differences between the Member States considering the notions of capital, persons, services and goods.

 

Associate Professor of University of Athens Antonia Zervaki focused on the concept of maritime spatial planning by referring to the relevant directive. He analyzed the respective dimensions, as well as, the objectives and challenges that have arisen. He also stressed the existing security requirements without a relevant reference to the concept of security against terrorism and organized crime. Finally, he referred to the late implementation of the Directive in Greece and Cyprus and the gaps in the Directive in relation to the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

Finally, Mr. Petros Violakis, Phd University of Exeter, raised questions about the existence of European defense and security. He stressed the need to understand the complexity and difficulty of debate at a European level. He also explained the notion of Europeanisation and the time required for the transition from a national to an international level. Concluding, Dr Violakis referred to the migration issue and its existence as a driving force for deeper co-operation within the European borders.

 

 Challenges, threats and violations of the external borders in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean (I)

 

The 4th session of the Seminar “The European Migration Management in the Eastern Mediterranean: E.E, Turkey and Greece  which was titled “Challenges, threats and violations of the external borders in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean (I)” took place on February 25, 2019. Coordinator was Professor Yannis Valinakis, President of the Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence.

 

The discussion began with Lieutenant Theodoros Piskioulopoulos (Chief Executive Officer of Hellenic National Defence General Staff A1 Division), who discussed the actions of the Armed Forces on the challenges at the external borders of the Aegean and the wider East Mediterranean region. An extensive review was also made on the actions against threats, both at national and European level, and the three pillars of military and strategic action, the EU, NATO and, most importantly, the national pillar.

 

The next speaker Dr. Evdokia Fournatzopoulou, Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  presented the challenges-threats and violations of national sovereignty and jurisdiction over the airspace of the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. Dr. Fournatzopoulou also mentioned the ways in which Turkey violated Greek national sovereignty, and clarified the difference between the violation of national sovereignty and the breach of air navigation legislation. The presentation ended with examples of Turkish threats and violations, as well as with particular reference to the research and rescue conditions in the region.

 

Moving on, Lieutenant General, Konstantinos Gialelis (Director of Fisheries Control of the Hellenic Armed Forces – ACT) focused in his presentation on the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and the challenges of the neighboring country. The speech began with the reference to the illegal acts of Turkish fishermen within the National Spatial Waters (HWH), while extensive reference was also made to the impact of these activities on Greece. A brief description of the legal framework governing fisheries and the relevant provisions followed, with particular focus on the Fisheries Control Regulation.

 

The fourth and last speaker of the meeting, Deputy Prosecutor, Ms. Ourania Stathea, raised the question of whether a violation of the borders could be tackled with legal measures. Through a summary of the legal provisions that foresee and punish the felony of attacking the international peace of the country, Ms. Stathea mentioned examples of the recent Greek history (Immigration and Ocalan case) and their relationship with the enforcement of Article 140 of the criminal code.

 

 

 

Challenges, threats and violations of the external borders in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean (II)

 

The 5th session “Challenges, threats and violations of the external borders in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean (II)” was successfully held on Monday, March 4, 2019. Coordinator was Professor Yannis Valinakis, President of the Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence.

 

The seminar began with the first speaker Dr Thanos Dokos, Director General Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), who set the framework for the subsequent presentations, highlighting the importance of border protection and its national dimension. Dr. Dockos referred to the difficulties of proper border surveillance and how this could be combined -or not- with NATO’s presence in the region. Regarding the future, he focused on two problems that will undermine border security, the external factor, such as terrorism, and the ongoing threats and disputes in the Aegean area.

 

Next speaker, General Michail Kostarakos, Chief of Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff and former EU Military Committee Chairman, began his presentation by pointing out that we are in the midst of major geopolitical rearrangements. In his presentation he emphasized on the statistical increase of Turkish threats and violations in the Aegean Sea, especially in the period of 2015-2016, which, in turns, resulted in unnecessary political movements on Greece’s part. Concluding, Mr Kostarakos stressed the importance of the creation of a European Army, with the aim to cover the needs of protection and security at the EU’s external borders, where Greece is located.

 

The conversation came to an and with the speech of ret. Brigadier General and NATO Representative, Mr. Panayiotis Theodorakidis, who began with a historical retrospection on the formation of the Greek borders, with particular reference to the definition of the Exclusive Economic Zone. Moreover, the decision of the Military Committee of NATO (MC 66/1) of 1960, which states that for the purposes of the alliance, the maritime and air borders of the Member States are identical. Lastly, he stressed the need for change is necessary, while he proposed the creation of a European FIR.

 

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