The EU hotspot: police war against the migrant

To designate an area a hotspot is thus by no means an innocent use of a well-known cultural trope. Rather, it is a reminder that in such a designation “hotspot peacekeeping” and “hotspot policing” merge; that the zone is always already established as one of both conflict and crime. Marking a zone inhabited solely by refugees as a hotspot thereby defines the space as inhabited by the criminal, the rebellious and the disorderly, in a way that marks out the hotspot as a space for police intervention: a warzone brought to order through an exercise of police power. The EU hotspot thus starts to look like nothing less than the declaration of a police war against the refugee. But perhaps there is more to be said. For, given the problematic nature of the distinction between refugee and migrant – for a start, the “evaluation” of whether one counts as a refugee or a migrant is conducted entirely by criteria established for the political administration of capital, but beyond that is the whole rhetoric of the refugee-migrant crisis in Europe wherein we are expected to believe that some can be genuinely evaluated as refugees (i.e. decent but vulnerable and in need of protection) and some as illegal immigrants (i.e. opportunist scroungers out to take jobs and claim benefits) – maybe what is at stake is in fact a police war against the migrant. And given that it is the personnel from EU agencies such as EASO and Frontex that a refugee encounters (the fact that overall safety in the hotspots falls within the jurisdiction of national police forces is merely a token gesture to national sovereignty), one might go further and posit the hotspot as the declaration of an international police war against the migrant.

Mark Neocleous and Maria Kastrinou in The EU hotspot (Radicalphilosophy)