The political determination of the Mediterranean border of the European Union seen from the perspective of the Southern European countries (Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta) illustrates the symbolic and political importance for these nations of maintaining control of the border. It has a significant impact on the types of controls that are enacted and the interplay between national and European decisions. Placing this question on the agenda brings to light a Mediterranean perspective regarding the exterior borders of the European Union that is largely determined by the conditions of integration of the different countries into the Schengen area. This new border regime is the result of complex political games and is seen as a security issue. The actual set of controls seems to be less planned and legal-rational than simply erratic and the result of tensions between internal tactics, nation state strategies and attempts at bringing within the ring of EU.