University of London Institute in Paris

9-11 rue de Constantine
75007 Paris

Seminar series
Challenging Europe


The second Challenging Europe event of this academic year, this evening brings together academics from both sides of the Channel to reflect on some of the possible outcomes for the future of the Franco-British border post-Brexit. The UK's most prominent border with the EU, the Dover-Calais crossing is currently a locus of cooperation and coordination, but with the UK's imminent departure from the EU how long can this continue?

The event proposes two papers focussed upon different issues associated with the Franco-British border from Virginie Guiraudon and Tim Bale.


16:00 - Reading Workshop (for more information and to receive the readings, click here)

18:00 - Lecture and Discussion

19:30 - Drinks Reception


Entente cordiale: what does UK-French border cooperation tell us about post-Brexit Europe?

Virginie Guiraudon

During the 2016 referendum campaign, pro-Brexit campaigners and UK tabloids often compounded anti-EU and anti-immigration stances in an ultimately successful effort to blame the woes of certain segments of the UK population on a loss of national sovereignty. There was little mention of the fact that France, an EU member state and Schengen co-founder, has been doing its best to prevent migrants from reaching the UK since 1999. A bilateral agreement signed by Blair and Chirac in Le Touquet in 2003 effectively shifted the UK-French border from Kent to Calais, roughly for the first time since 1347. Makeshift camps, police repression, successful suits against human rights violations by the French state, economic losses, expensive public investments in border control, political wins by the National Front in Northern France. How can we make sense of the strange cooperative behaviour of French governments, regardless of their partisan colour, with a rather ungrateful UK? This talk will try to answer the puzzle, far from the maddening crowd by delving into the makings of a European consensus on border control. And, in doing so, highlight some of the contradictions of post-Brexit Europe.

Virginie Guiraudon is Research Director at the National Center for Scientific Research posted at the Sciences Po Paris Center for European Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University. Her current work focuses on European immigration, asylum and border policies. She is the recipient of several awards including the Mattei Dogan prize in European political sociology of the European Consortium for Political Research. She is the author of Les politiques d'immigration en Europe (l'Harmattan, 2000). She has co-edited Controlling a New Migration World (Routledge, 2001), Immigration Politics in Europe: The Politics of Control (Taylor and Francis, 2006), Sociology of the European Union (Palgrave, 2011) and Europe’s Prolonged Crisis: The Making and Unmaking of a Political Union (Palgrave, 2015).


‘Smooth and orderly’? ‘Deep and special’? The British-EU border after Brexit

Tim Bale

Immigration played a huge and possibly decisive role in the Leave campaign’s victory in the UK’s EU referendum in June 2016. Since then most of the attention paid to the subject has – not unreasonably perhaps given the EU’s insistence that it be handled early on in negotiations – has been focused on the long land border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. But what about the border that, physically anyway, is probably the most familiar to even more of the UK’s population, namely the English Channel? For over a decade, as anyone who has travelled on the iconic Eurostar knows well, travellers have had their passports or ID cards checked by French police in the UK and by UK border control officials in France meaning that one has effectively arrived in the one country before one actually leaves the other. Can this, will this, Franco-British cooperation carry on once the UK leaves the EU?

Tim Bale is Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London where he specializes in political parties and in the politics of migration. He has written several books on the British Labour and Conservative Party, as well as editing a number of collections, including Immigration and Integration Policy in Europe: Why Politics - and the Centre-Right - Matter (Routledge, 2008). He is also the author of European Politics: a Comparative Introduction, the fourth edition of which has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan.