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8 June 2019


„Unwanted citizens of EU member states and their forced returns within the European Union”

Guest editors:

Prof. Witold Klaus, Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw

Dr Agnieszka Martynowicz, Edge Hill University, United Kingdom

Governments of countries of the Global North often segregate migrants into three main groups: welcomed and accepted (mostly high-skilled specialists); ‘tolerable’ because needed (skilled or unskilled workers) and unwanted. The third category is fluid and can become inter-changeable when needed and convenient, the ‘selection’ often based on immigration policy priorities of different states. In most cases the third group consists of asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants. However, in recent years a lot of focus has also been placed on removing migrants with criminal records, people who commit a crime on the territory of the host country, or people who are perceived as othered, as a ‘burden’ on the welfare system of the country (with the latter category often targeting members of Roma community). Those ‘unwanted’ migrants are subjected to forced returns through the means of deportation or administrative removal.

While deportation and post-deportation experiences of individuals sent to countries outside of the EU are increasingly being documented, less attention has been paid to EU nationals removed to other EU Member States within the Union. EU citizens exercising ‘free movement’ rights enjoy, in theory, more protection from deportation or other forms of forced removal under EU Directives. Often, however, they are subjected to the same process of segregation as described above and a growing number are forced to return to their countries of origin. In the UK, just to give one example, in the year after the Brexit referendum in June 2016, the number of removals of EU citizens from the UK increased by 20%. Romanians and Poles both feature among the top ten nationalities removed from the UK in 2016 (ranking third and eighth respectively). The overall number of EU nationals returned from the UK to their countries of origin reached just over 5,300 in 2017. Removals are enforced no matter how long migrants have lived on the territory of the host country. In a lot of cases, it is enough that – at some point – they have become othered by the host society or its government as non-belonging or ‘dangerous’.

The guest editors of this special issue invite contributions debating questions of legality, belonging, sovereignty and forced mobility. We welcome legal, criminological, sociological and anthropological perspectives on deportation and post-deportation experiences of EU citizens and/or their families within the borders of the European Union. We are particularly interested in papers that address deportations and other forms of removal to and from countries of Central and Eastern Europe, however, analyses devoted to other parts of the EU also fit within the scope of the planned special issue.  

At this stage, we invite expressions of interest in the form of abstracts between 200 and 350 words. These should be sent by 30 August 2019 to:

Prof. Witold Klaus: and to Dr Agnieszka Martynowicz:

The selection of papers for publication will take place mid-September 2019, with the finished papers to be submitted by the end of February 2020. All papers will be published as ‘Online First’ by the end of 2020, with the publication of the full special issue in the first half of 2021.