This article introduces the concept of a “valve” state as an instrument in the study of transit migration. A “valve” state is defined as a transit state that, due to its geographical position, to a specific regional political and geopolitical configuration and to key changes in its migration control policies, can play a decisive role in significantly shaping regional transit migratory flows. The case study of the 2015 Balkan migratory wave is used to show that this phenomenon was triggered by policy changes in two “valve” states, Greece and Macedonia, that challenged the externalisation and securitisation policies of the European Union. Developments in the first part of 2016 are also taken into consideration in order to show the role of “valve” states in putting an end to the migratory wave. Critically, this was due to the creation of a new “valve” state, Turkey, as part of Brussels’ regime of influence.
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