COVID-19 Responses and the European Border Regime in Croatia and Serbia: Spectacularizing Borders and Sovereignties

Marijana Hameršak,

Marta Stojić Mitrović


This article focuses on multiple bordering practices introduced in the context of the initial COVID -19 responses in Croatia and Serbia. These practices, often focused on the imposition of mobility control, were differently framed, executed and challenged in these two contexts and demonstrated a long-term restructuring of the European border regime at the gates of the EU . The paper outlines and contextualizes constant interplay and mutual stimulation of movement suppression and movement resilience in response to the new virus, blurring and sharpening borders, as seen from these two states at the political and geographical peripheries of Europe. Croatia and Serbia employed spectacularization and invisibilization of movement control, which steadily fostered the further compartmentalization of the population in both countries but with notable differences, especially regarding the control over unwanted migration toward the EU . In the period under discussion, borders were activated, imposed and challenged, exposing the changeability of relations between the EU border regime and the sovereign-nation states which comprise it. Different positions of Serbia and Croatia in the EU border regime also led to differences with regard to movement control, bordering, encampment and the repression exhibited toward people on the move. Old and new typologies of movement repression were tested and employed within the COVID -19 crisis framework, resulting in the further compartmentalization of societies and exclusions

Słowa kluczowe: COVID -19 pandemic, Croatia, European border regime, Serbia, sovereignty, bordering

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