Project scope

This multidisciplinary research project focuses on two main topics: border geopolitics and international migrations. Through the interaction of both, the transformation of the European territory can be analyzed and two major changes can be observed. On the one hand, integration is reinforced by gradual enlargement of the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, the crisis related to the transition of Eastern European countries towards democracy and market economy can lead to fragmentation. As a consequence, intense migrations to the EU-15 can be observed from this area, especially from Romania, Bulgaria, Moldavia and Ukraine. In order to analyze such processes, the Spanish context has been adopted as the main reference. In general terms, this project aims at including and contributing to a fundamental and critical research area, related to international migrations and the continuous dynamics of geopolitics, which is affecting the global society of the XXI century.

Through the adoption of a global perspective, the main objective is to analyze the situation of migration flows from Romania, Bulgaria, Moldavia and Ukraine towards Spain. During the last years, crossing borders became easier, due to the enlargement of the EU, so migration has turned especially intense. In relation to the characteristics of the sending countries, the demographic situation, the development of market economy, unemployment and the economic crisis, will be considered. For this reason, the project includes experts from the Eastern European territories.

The research deals with fundamental aspects related to migration from Eastern Europe to Spain, such as circular mobility (as a result of the integration of Romania and Bulgaria in the Schengen area in 2002). In times of global economic crisis, mobility has concrete consequences on irregularity and limited return processes. Other aspects include the role played by borders in the life of migrants (depending if they facilitate or impede mobility) and the
 impact of border policies on the intensity of human mobility between Eastern and Western Europe. This research points out the need for innovation, considering EU policies on migration, together with the theoretical and methodological framework for the analysis of mobility.

Romanian and Bulgarian citizens will be included in the research, considering they are euro-mobile, since both countries became members of the EU in 2007. In order to capture the diversity of regional geopolitics, migration to Spain from Ukraine and Moldavia will also be analyzed, as they are both sending and transit countries, located “outside” of the European area and their citizens still need a visa to cross the EU border. The irregular migration routes crossing the Eastern border to the EU and Spain will be considered. Thus special attention will be paid to women trafficking and crime; the role played by Romania and Bulgaria; the actions implemented by the EU Agency FRONTEX and the global role of Spain regarding the EU policies on migration.

In times of global economic crisis, the return process will be analyzed as a component of mobility and as part of migration policies adopted by Spain and the sending countries. Special attention will be paid to the programmes whose aim is to facilitate the voluntary return of migrants, especially through the promotion of human resources for the creation of business initiatives in the sending countries, by the migrants themselves, when they were previously facing unemployment in Spain.  
At last, but not least, the premises of the project includes the identity of mobile citizens within the enlarged Europe, in order to measure to what extent mobility is affecting emigrants’ (re)construction of identity.