The EU’s Fight Against Transnational Crime in the Sahel

Eva Magdalena Stambøl

The pursuit of internal security objectives has become increasingly important in EU foreign policy and external relations. The EU now invests a growing amount of efforts towards fighting ‘security threats’ and transnational crime in the (extended) neighborhood. This is particularly evident in the Sahel region of West Africa, where initiatives focusing on bolstering internal security apparatuses and borders are mushrooming. The question is whether the EU’s emerging role as a ‘global crime fighter’ contributes to fostering human security or satisfying the internal security priorities of the member states and whether the two are at all compatible. A closer look at EU policies in the Sahel suggests that solutions based on criminalisation and repression can have harmful unintended consequences which can even destabilise the region.