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The aim of this research project is to study the nature and practical results of European intervention in migration issues in the central Sahara and its global cost, by combining an analysis of European policies with empirical fieldwork, with a view towards understanding and correcting the representations and assumptions that underpin them.

What are the effects of European migration policies on the Saharan local economies and societies? Migration by nationals of sub-Saharan countries to the Sahara, often assimilated by African and European public institutions to departures to Europe, have, over the last decade, become the object of increased surveillance. The European Union has put migration at the heart of its relations with the African continent, and finances a broad range of programmes that aim at a better ‘management’ of migration in the Sahara, especially at curtailing illegal migration. Ranging from encouragement of legal reforms to assistance in the repatriation of migrants, via equipping border posts with sophisticated means of control, EU interventions in the area take different forms, but they all have in common that little is known of their actual impact and side-effects on the ground. By combining an analysis of European policies with empirical fieldwork in Niger, Chad and Libya, this project proposes to study the nature and practical results of European intervention in migration issues in the central Sahara, with a view towards understanding and correcting the representations and assumptions that underpin them.

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