Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Jennifer Taw

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© 2017 Sarah C Sanbar


This thesis explores some of the connections between the defence industry and the European border policy that emerged leading up to, and following, the European refugee crisis of 2015. The paper is divided into two parts. The first seeks to examine and understand the context in which the refugee crisis occurred. In order to do this, I begin with a literature review that uses the integration theory of Multilevel Governance to understand how and where the European Union (EU) is susceptible to political pressure or special interest influence. Next, I present a brief history of the causes and course of the crisis, the pre-existing border regime, and the defence industry and lobby.

The second section synthesises the context provided in the first section in order to determine whether actors in the defence industry were lucky beneficiaries of policies movements that happened to benefit them, or, if they were proactive lobbyists. I identify four trends in policy, namely the militarisation, centralisation, privatisation, and externalisation of border controls, and I discuss each trend, lobbyist influence, and the implications each trend has for refugees. Finally, I conclude that although there is significant evidence of lobbyist influence in shaping the policies, the presence of a myriad of other factors makes it nearly impossible to quantify how big a role lobbyist influence was in determining outcomes. Nevertheless, the implications of such institutional susceptibilities to lobbying in the EU should be both cause for concern and further inquiry.