European governments acting alone and collectively through Frontex and NATO are intercepting asylum seekers and other migrants far from their shores. Patrolling the moat is tightly linked to buffering. In lieu of offshore processing, European governments collaborate with coastal states in North Africa, Albania, and Turkey to prevent departures and accept readmission of people intercepted at sea. The weakness of coastal states’ control capacity has then led European governments to drive further inland and build expanding rings of land buffers around the moat. The modest constraints on Europe’s moat strategy are the supranational judiciary and monitoring of conditions at sea and in coastal buffer states by NGOs, investigative journalists, and the UNHCR.
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