Migration Policies in Small States : a Critical Study of Relocation in Malta and Luxembourg

  • Supervisor: Julien Jeandesboz
  • Research center: REPI
  • Research start date: 01.10.2021


The project explores the contemporary development of migration policies in the European Union (EU). It focuses on relocation, a recent and contested measure, which aims to transfer migrants within the EU. The case studies are Malta and Luxembourg. Unlike the majority of member states, both countries have been deeply committed to the relocation of migrants. The research has two main objectives. One is to investigate the under-studied role of small states in the adoption of relocation. Another one aims to develop research on the implementation of relocation in small states, which remains limited to date. In the overall, the project explores how Malta and Luxembourg contribute to developing a specific form of governing migration, which tends to both contain and encourage the mobility of migrants. This project built on governmentality studies and involves multi-sited fieldwork between Brussels, Malta and Luxembourg. By studying relocation, the research intends to show how migration is governed by both incentive and coercive mechanisms. As such, it will represent a great contribution to migration studies and EU studies.


Léa Lemaire holds a PhD in political science. Her research and teaching activities are at the crossroads of international political sociology and migration studies. Her work focuses on the government of migration in Europe and beyond. She has been published in the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee studies, Journal of Borderland Studies and Champ pénal/Penal field. Previously, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Luxembourg where she was in charge of the REFUGOV research project on refugee reception in Luxembourg and Jordan. She is a COFUND Marie Curie - ULB postdoctoral fellow at REPI since October 1st, 2021. Her research project, MISMA (Migration Policies in Small States: a Critical Study of Relocation in Malta and Luxembourg), examines the relocation of migrants in the European Union (EU).




Léa Lemaire, « La frontiérisation de Malte : des centres fermés aux ‘citoyens-détectives’ », Champ pénal/Penal field, 2021, vol. 23, En ligne. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/champpenal/12604; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/champpenal.12604

Léa Lemaire, « The Relocation of Migrants in the European Union: A Designed Failure? Insights from Malta » in Refugee Crises and Migration Policies. From Local to Global, Gökçe Bayindir Goularas; Isil Zeynep Turkan Ipek; Edanur Önel (dir.), Rowman & Littlefield, 2020, pp. 31-44.

Léa Lemaire, « The European Dispositif of Border Control in Malta. Migrants' Experiences of a Securitized Borderland », Journal of Borderlands Studies, vol. 34, n° 5, 2019, pp. 717-732.

Léa Lemaire « Island and a carceral environment : Maltese policy in terms of irregular migration », Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, vol. 12, n° 2, 2014, pp. 143-160.