Over 300 million persons, both European Union citizens and third-country nationals, cross the external borders of the EU every year. The Schengen Borders Code stresses that EU citizens and persons enjoying freedom of movement in the Union, such as family members of EU citizens, should be subject to minimum border checks. By contrast, third-country nationals must be subject to thorough checks which include purpose of stay, means of subsistence during the stay as well as verification in databases.

Third-country nationals intercepted or rescued at sea and/or land borders of the EU, often have their fundamental rights violated, both civil and social rights. The project “Treatment of third country nationals at the EU’s external borders” focuses on the treatment of third-country nationals in relation to their civil and social rights. Information will be collected from irregular migrants at entry points and reception centers of the participating countries, local authorities, fishermen and sea patrol, border guards and informed persons. By identifying possible shortcomings as well as good practices in the way border checks are conducted at the main entry points into the European Union, the project seeks to assist policymakers and practitioners to enhance the quality of border checks at crossing points. This is a two-phase project, with Phase I starting in 2011, focusing on the sea border of the EU and Phase II, expected to begin in the end of 2011, concentrating on the land border of the EU. Complementing the innovative primary research is a review of the training received by border guards on Fundamental Rights. The aim of this review will be to highlight the effectiveness, sufficiency and potential gaps of the training offered.


Project Coordinator: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)

Project Partners: Hellenic Foundation of European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) – Greece, European University Institute (ΕUI) – Italy, Forum Internazionale ed Europeo di Ricerche sull´Immigrazione (FIERI) – Italy, Group for research on Ethnic Relations, Migration and Equality (GERME/ULB) – France, Universidad de La Laguna (ULL) – Spain.

The Migration Research Team of ELIAMEP (Prof. Anna Triandafyllidou, Dr. Thanos Maroukis, Despoina Syrri, Angeliki Dimitriadi, Kleopatra Yousef, Marina Nikolova) is responsible for the coordination of the case studies as regards the treatment of irregular migrants in Greek-Turkish sea and land borders, in Cyprus and Bulgaria.