Travelers at an airport

Threats from outside frighten Europeans

Positive to the idea of free movement within Europe but scared of threats on the outside. This is shown by a new study, based on field interviews with travelers in the Baltic Sea region.

The results from the study show that many passengers are positive to the idea of free movement within Europe, but at the same time also scared of threats from countries outside Europe's borders. The travelers established and reestablished a sense of security within Europe, as opposed to the other, in this case the threats coming from countries outside of Europe. The travelers did not want to make it more difficult to travel within already fixed borders or collaborations between countries, like for instance Shengen. However, they do not want increased free movement for people coming from countries outside of Europe.

"Most people think free movement is great – under certain conditions. Many of the respondents were of the opinion that there are dangers lurking on the outside which 'could present themselves' if the free movement was total", says Goran Basic.

Goran Basic thinks that the reason for many people reacting like this is the distance between different countries and the interaction between people. "It is easier to connect to what is close to you. When there is a big distance between people, that is when something is perceived as dangerous", explains Goran Basic.

The study is based on field notes and field interviews with 100 passengers at Arlanda airport in Stockholm and on field notes from 100 field interviews with passengers on Tallink Silja Line ferries between Stockholm and Riga in Latvia. The article is part of the results from the project "Turnstone", an investigation of the collaboration between border police and coast guard in the Baltic Sea area, worked out in collaboration with Sophia Yakhlef and Malin Åkerström at Lund University.

The project is funded by the European commission. The aim of the project is to, based on empirical material (interviews and field notes) map out and analyse how members of staff at the various border authorities experience, interpret and define the organisational, cultural, historical and legal differences between different border authorities. In addition, the aim is to map out and analyse how travelers experience, interpret and define free movement within the region in relation to border authorities.

More information:

Yakhlef, S., Basic, G., Åkerström, M. (2016)
Risk, Safety and Freedom of Movement: In Airplane and Ferry Passenger Stories in the Northern Baltic Sea Region. Journal of Criminal Justice and Security, 18(2): 175–193

Read the full article online

Contact information:

Goran Basic, associate professor, +46470-70 89 59 /
Tove Nordén, communications officer, +4670-367 14 53