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MEMO/11/800

Brussels, 18 November 2011

Frequently Asked Questions: Fostering strategic dialogue and partnership with non-EU countries

Why a communication on the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility?

The EU set up the Global Approach to Migration in 2005 to address all relevant aspects of migration in a balanced and comprehensive way in partnership with non-EU countries. Since the adoption of the Global approach, globalisation, demographic change and societal transformation have affected the European Union, its Member States and countries around the world, and continuous to do so.

The Commission is convinced that it is now time to initiate a more strategic phase of the Global Approach to strengthen its external migration policy and the cooperation with third countries. The Global Approach should better reflect the external and internal strategic objectives of the Union and translate them into concrete proposals for dialogue and cooperation with the partner countries:

  • The EU is increasingly speaking with one voice on the global scene. One objective of this Communication is, therefore, to make the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility even more integrated with EU foreign policy and development cooperation .

  • T he Global Approach should be better aligned with the EU internal policy objectives. Migration and mobility in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy aim to contribute to the vitality and competitiveness of the EU. To ensure prosperity, Europe must become a more attractive destination in the global competition for talent. 20 million citizens coming from third countries currently live in the EU (around 4% of the total EU population). With net migration already contributing with 0.9 million (or 62%) of total EU population growth in 2010, it is a strategic priority for Europe to ensure an adaptable workforce with the necessary skills in response to the evolving demographic and economic changes.

  • Mobility of third country nationals is of crucial importance in fulfilling both these objectives, and it is also a much broader concept than migration. Mobility applies to a wide range of people, e.g. short-term visitors, tourists, students, researchers, business people or visiting family members. Mobility and visa policy should be integral parts of the Global Approach. Visa obligations can be facilitated or lifted when a number of specific benchmarks are fulfilled by the partner countries, including in areas such as migration, asylum and border management. This process can ensure mobility in a secure environment.

What is the main content of this Communication?

The Communication outlines the thematic and geographical priorities of the Global Approach. It should be based on four equally important thematic pillars :

  • organizing and facilitating legal migration and mobility

  • preventing and reducing irregular migration and trafficking in human beings

  • promoting international protection and enhancing the external dimension of asylum policy

  • maximising the development impact of migration and mobility

EU action should become more migrant-centred, with the aim to empower migrants and contribute to strengthen their human rights in countries of origin, transit and destination. Inter-regional migration outside the EU should also be addressed. The EU should be engaged in Migration and Mobility Dialogues with non-EU countries across the globe. The aim is to exchange information, identify shared interests and build trust and commitment as a basis for operational cooperation. Closer cooperation will be sought with those partners that share interests with and are ready to make mutual commitments with the EU and its Member States. New initiatives will be assessed in the light of the EU’s regional and bilateral priorities.

Regional dialogue processes should continue as a strong focus. While the EU enlargement remains a separate process, the EU Neighborhood should be a main priority. The overarching regional framework towards the south should be the Africa-EU partnership. Towards the east it should be the Prague process. Other sub-regional processes should be aligned to these. In addition, a few bilateral dialogue processes should be maintained, notably with the Southern Mediterranean countries, the countries of the Western Balkans, Turkey, Russia, Nigeria and South Africa, as well as India and China.

The Global Approach should also a ddress intra-regional migration and mobility in other parts of the world when identified in the dialogue as relevant.

What has already been done under the Global Approach?

Since 2005 approximately 300 migration-related projects in non-EU countries have been funded under various thematic and geographical financial instruments of the European Commission, amounting to a value of € 800 million (see MEMO/11/801 Concrete examples in the context of the GAMM).

The Global Approach has so far mainly relied on a few specific tools: (a) migration profiles, which are now applied worldwide in more than 70 countries, (b) migration missions, which have taken place to 17 non-EU countries, (c) cooperation platforms, set up for a limited period in Ethiopia, and (d) Mobility Partnerships, launched with Moldova, Cape Verde, Georgia and, most recently, with Armenia.

The EU’s external migration policy, however, also builds on: EU legislation and legal instruments (so far, nine visa facilitation and thirteen EU readmission agreements, as well as seven Directives on legal and irregular migration); political instruments (a large number of policy dialogues, often backed up by action plans); operational support and capacity-building (including via the EU agencies and technical assistance facilities) and the wide range of programme and project support that is made available to numerous stakeholders, including civil society, migrant associations and international organisations.

How should the EU conduct its dialogue with partner countries?

The EU should offer a more comprehensive range of operational mechanisms to carry out the Global Approach in a more structured and systematic way. This will be done through tailor-made bilateral partnership frameworks that will be negotiated between the EU and each priority country.

The first of these frameworks is the Mobility Partnership (MP), which will be promoted as the principal framework for cooperation in the area of migration and mobility between the EU and its partners, with a primary focus on the countries in the EU Neighbourhood. The proposal to negotiate an MP should be presented once a certain level of progress has been achieved in the migration and mobility dialogues, also taking into consideration the broader economic, political and security context.

The MPs will be based on the shared interests and concerns of the partner country and EU participants, and rely on simultaneously negotiated visa facilitation and readmission agreements. A ‘more for more’ approach, implying an element of conditionality, should continue to be applied as a way to increase transparency and speed up progress towards concluding these agreements. A support package geared at capacity-building and exchanges of information should be offered by the EU and by Member States on a voluntary basis.

A second and alternative framework should be the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM). This is the viable option in cases where both the EU and the partner country want to establish an advanced level of cooperation, but where one side or the other is not ready to immediately enter into visa facilitation and readmission agreements. Like the MP, the CAMM should set a number of common recommendations, targets and commitments for dialogue and cooperation and should include a package of specific support measures. If both parties agree, the Common Agenda could be upgraded to a Mobility Partnership at a later stage.

In the framework of both Mobility Partnerships and Common Agendas, dedicated Migration and Mobility Resource Centres (MMRC) should be set up in partner countries. These should be integrated within national authorities or employment agencies. Focusing on migrants’ needs, they should (1) serve as a one-stop shop for individuals seeking information and support on validation of their qualifications, skill upgrading and skill needs at national or regional levels or in the EU and (2) provide pre-departure, return and reintegration measures. The newly launched, online EU Immigration Portal will also be a useful information tool for this purpose. The MMRCs should assist authorities in the partner countries and EU Member States, including Public Employment Services, with a view to improving labour matching and supporting positive development outcomes. These centres should also be linked up with the Common Visa Application Centres and with the EU Delegations to facilitate visa procedures for specific categories of non-EU nationals.

What should be the priorities?

A series of priority activities should be implemented within each of the four pillars of the Global Approach:

Organizing and facilitating legal migration and mobility

  • Dedicated mobility projects for young people, students, artists and cultural workers, researchers and academics in the form of additional scholarships, fellowship programmes and youth mobility agreements.

  • Full application of the Visa Code and possible amendments to improve local Schengen cooperation and to enhance consular coverage, by establishing Common Visa Application Centres.

  • Twinning between higher education and training institutions, to encourage cross-border cooperation and exchanges on aligning curricula, certification and qualifications to improve long-term labour market complementarity.

  • Encouraging public employment services at EU level to monitor recruitment procedures and exchange good practice on employment and labour matching between Member States, partner countries and stakeholders.

P reventing and reducing irregular migration and trafficking in human beings

  • Transfer of skills, capacity and resources to partners to prevent and reduce trafficking, smuggling and irregular migration and to strengthen integrated border management.

  • Cooperation on document security, paving the way for visa facilitation for frequent travellers from priority partner countries.

  • Initiatives to provide better protection for and empower victims of trafficking in human beings.

P romoting international protection and enhancing the external dimension of asylum policy

  • Regional Protection Programmes (RPPs) to strengthen the protection capacity and asylum systems of partner countries and regions.

  • Support from the EASO for building asylum capacity in non-EU countries, including in the form of support for resettlement.

  • Stronger efforts to solve protracted refugee situations, including targeted assistance for displaced persons.

Maximising the development impact of migration and mobility

  • Promoting the WHO Code on international recruitment of health personnel and monitoring application of the EU Blue Card Directive to mitigate 'brain drain'.

  • Exploring setting up diaspora investment vehicles that could channel voluntary contributions by the diaspora and adding EU resources to boost the development-oriented initiatives in priority countries, such as in the Southern Mediterranean.

  • Private-public partnerships to engage migrant entrepreneurs and SMEs in trade, investment and skills transfers between EU Member States and partner countries.

  • Exploring the usefulness of an annual remittances forum and recommendations by the end of 2012 on the basis of a study on the feasibility of a common EU portal on remittances.

  • Assistance to partner countries to identify and monitor bona fide recruiters in order to empower migrants, notably with a view to facilitating circular migration.

What will be the follow-up?

The Communication outlines how the Global Approach should be jointly implemented by the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS), including EU Delegations and Member States.

A Global Approach Report should be adopted every second year, starting in June 2013. It should be based on information provided by Member States, EU Delegations, EU agencies and partner countries and will be presented under the responsibility of the Commission in association with the EEAS.

The European Council is expected to give guidance on further implementation of the proposals in the Communication. The Commission will thereafter work in close cooperation with Member States to ensure that the guidelines are put into practice.


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