In times marked by trends as diverse as economic globalisation, international migration as well as fear of terrorism and organised crime, the efficient handling of borders has become an issue of political priority, in the EU and across the world. Modern, economy-oriented states have to rely on a flourishing trade and offer a comfortable degree of security to their citizens. The formula commonly chosen in combining these two objectives is that of ‘integrated border management’, which represents the delicate attempt to marry security concerns with trade facilitation.
If the implementation of this innovative approach is already proving to be a challenge to well-established nation states, it becomes a genuine balancing act for an incomplete federation such as the EU, with its sensitive mix of a single external border and 25 separate legal/administrative systems. This working paper seeks to illustrate the difficulties encountered by the EU and develop solutions that should firmly go into the direction of a coherent, communitarian approach in border management, such as that sketched out by the recent Council Regulation No. 2007/2004 establishing the European Border Agency known as FRONTEX.