European Migration and Diversity

Immigration, Integration and Asylum Forum


The Global Approach to Migration: which way forward for the external dimension of EU migration policy?

27 May 2011


Stefano Manservisi, Director General for Home Affairs in the European Commission, said that the triggering mechanism for a global approach was the big push of migration from sub-Saharan Africa in 2005 and now the Arab Spring. The Commission’s view can be found in three recent Communications, which outline its policy approach and open discussion on a global approach to migration. The reshaping of the neighbourhood policy puts the concept of mobility in the political framework as a key element of partnership with neighbouring countries. The Commission is now looking at a revision of the global approach, with a more global level of mobility with security partnership part of the consideration.

Ska Keller, Member of the European Parliament, said there was no common European approach to migration. The Commission cannot offer much on mobility partnerships or readmission agreements with third countries because the ultimate decisions lie with Member States. Migration is about people, not just about labour force and policy instruments, but migrants are often missing from the debate. In revising the global approach to migration the focus should be on tackling the  ‘push factors’ that drive migration, like unemployment and poverty. There also needs to be a stronger focus on human rights and international protection, addressing the trade-off between human rights and border security. The EU needs an approach to legal migration for people who do not need international protection, but who are seeking better life prospects.

Philippe de Bruycker, Professor of European Immigration and Asylum Law, Université Libre de Bruxelles, said the evaluation of the global approach to migration contained in the Commission’s Communication already appeared to be negative. There were five issues: Geographical priority: the EU has had more success in the East than the South, in terms of mobility partnerships, visa facilitation and readmission agreements. Implementation: migration profiles are inconsistent. There are no profiles for Morocco, Tunisia or Egypt, whereas the EU has profiles for the smallest islands in the Caribbean. Mobility partnerships: this has been a clever tool for dealing with the complexities of the legal framework. Migration and development: the Global Approach has been too limited and slow in the field of migration and development. Thematic approach: at the moment there is an unbalanced thematic approach.

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