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Security and Border Security Policies: Perimeter or Smart Border? A Comparison of the European Union and Canadian-American Border Security Regimes

Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly


Did the traumatic act of September 11, 2001, lead European and North American governments to reconsider their security regimes and their border security policies in particular? Canada and the United States brokered the Smart Border Agreement while the European Union member-states elected to work together to build an area of freedom, security and justice. As both of these free trade regimes increasingly integrated, security costs also increased. The European Union abolished borders between member-states in order to concentrate resources on external borders and co-operate on security issues. In North America, each state reinvested in border security and increased co-operation.
Functionalists and neo-functionalists would suggest that supranational institutions permit states to establish an effective border security perimeter strategy. However, issues of sovereignty may frustrate such views, and realist or multilevel governance approaches might predict more accurately how states reorganize their border security regimes. In this paper, the argument is made that neo-functionalist views best explain the European strategy, whereas the multilevel governance approach best explains the Canada-U.S. strategies. Ultimately, however, this paper documents that sovereignty has a cost.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229