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Policy Dialogue
AU-EU Summit Debrief: A closer look at migration and mobility cooperation

Wednesday, 23 February 2022


Anna Knoll
Head, Migration and Mobility Programme, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)
Nicolás Berlanga-Martinez
Adviser on Migration and Maritime Security, European External Action Service
Ottilia Anna Maunganidze
Head of Special Projects, Institute for Security Studies (ISS)
Silvia Carta
Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre


Mehari Taddele Maru
Professor, Migration Policy Centre, European University Institute

This online Policy Dialogue, organised in the framework of the Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration (MEDAM), looked at the outcomes of the 6th AU-EU Summit. The Summit took place on 17-18 February 2022 after a two-year postponement due to the pandemic. The event began with brief reflections by each panellist on the Summit’s conclusions on migration and mobility, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. 

Discussions on migration during the Summit were described as constructive, though the issue played a more marginal role compared to others, such as vaccine patents and trade. This was considered a sign that the dialogue on migration between the EU and AU had reached a new level of maturity. 

Speakers agreed that integrating migration matters into the thematic panel on education and vocational training was a positive development, marking a departure from the security-oriented narrative that has dominated in the past. However, speakers also pointed out that the final Declaration still leans towards a negative framing of the migration debate. Looking at the downsides of the discussions, panellists highlighted the need for legal migration channels to become the default migration means to the EU. As such, they highlighted the need for existing legal migration pilot projects to be scaled up while also actively working towards preventing “brain-drain”. Panellists also saw increased legal migration pathways as a way to counter smuggling and trafficking in persons.  

In the Q&A session, speakers also reflected on several aspects not addressed at the Summit, including the impact of climate change on mobility and the possible Frontex engagement in African countries, such as Senegal.

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