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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:
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 :
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
P reventing and reducing irregular migration and trafficking in human beings
P romoting international protection and enhancing the external dimension of asylum policy
Maximising the development impact of migration and mobility
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.