On 22 November 2019, the Natolin Academy of Migration (NAM) of the European Neighbourhood Policy Chair of the College of Europe at Natolin held a workshop entitled "Expulsion Under Scrutiny: Highlighting the Grey Zone".
The expulsion of foreigners who do not or no longer have the right to stay in the territory of a country (be they migrants or rejected asylum-seekers) has gained momentum over the last thirty years. Expulsion constitutes a global phenomenon. In Europe, the expulsion of foreigners has become a major crossover issue in internal and foreign policy domains, mainly through the adoption of numerous mechanisms and provisions aimed at facilitating the removal of foreign nationals. Scholars across disciplines have already analysed these mechanisms at supranational, international and intergovernmental levels.
Yet today, the drive for expulsion calls for a reappraisal of its manifold implications, especially when realizing the unprecedented appearance of a grey zone, where distinctions between conventional categories and definitional limits become gradually unclear. Grey zone is used metaphorically to refer to an area where ambivalence, imprecision, and blurriness prevail. Examples abound. The grey zone is expanding if one considers the growing number of atypical arrangements on readmission that have been concluded with third countries, at supranational and intergovernmental levels. The grey zone is growing if one recognises that the drive for expulsion has been premised on a mix of formality and informality, on unclear interactions between public and private actors, on the banal acceptance of polysemy and fuzzy political constructs that de facto disguise forms of expulsion, having severe implications for human rights observance.
Fifteen years after the adoption of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and ten years after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, speakers across disciplines gathered at Natolin to examine the origins of the grey zone, its attributes and consequences in the broadest sense.
Against this backdrop, the workshop featured four consecutive interventions by invited academics and Professor Jean-Pierre CASSARINO, Senior Research Fellow at the European Neighbourhood Policy Chair, followed by a debate and Q&A.