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The “rise and fall” of the corridor: Some reflections on the changes in the Balkans migratory route after the summer of 2015

At the end of the summer of 2015, the status quo of the European migration policy has been thoroughly shaken up. The unprecedented size and strength of the movement of migrants – daily arriving from Turkey to the Greek islands, and from there along the so-called Balkans migratory route – put pressure on Fortress Europe and finally achieved, in September 2015, the opening of a corridor for a (relatively) quicker and safer passage from Greece to Austria. This article is an attempt to reflect the events of the last year – the establishment, the characteristics and transformations, as well as the final closure of this corridor. In the first part we propose a conceptual framework for the understanding of the difference between the Balkans migratory route and the corridor and present the timeline of the »rise and fall« of the corridor. In the second part, we try to shed light on the changes which the corridor brought to migration politics and praxis from the perspective of the autonomy of migration, and suggest that the establishment of the corridor should be understood as a victory of the liberatory movement of migrants, and the nature of the corridor as being anchored in an attempt to control the movement of people: when the control cannot be ensured through repression, it needs to be ensured through humanitarianism. In the third part, we reflect on the role of the corridor, and especially of its closure, in the affirmation of the global apartheid and thus attempt to place the corridor in the context of neoliberal capitalism. The global apartheid, reinforced through borders, produces different categories of people with differential access to rights. Through the isolation and the prevention of contact (by physical and discursive means) between citizens and those, who have been excluded from citizenship, the corridor and its closure participate in the establishment of a parallel inner apartheid, which endangers solidarity and the recognition of alliances and complicities in the common struggles against global capitalism.


Article inside journal

Issue No. 264 - The Balkan Migratory Route: From Revolts on the Borders to the Striptease of Humanism
Časopis za kritiko znanosti
2016 , volume volume 44 , issue issue 264