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Apart from the fact that the avenues of legal migration have not been really open [2] , the institutional changes helping people to be mobile have not materialized either. First, visa policy has not been used fully in this case. Visa facilitation with Cape Verde, initially almost blocked by the EU Member States in the EU Council, has been signed with considerable delay, because inter alia of tough requirements of the readmission agreement.

If we want to keep the concept, the partners need to decisively improve the component of legal migration and mobility. To achieve this, partners should focus on one major challenge: the value added.

A Comprehensive European Migration Policy

In other words — what makes the partnerships a valuable tool over the existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the area of legal migration and mobility? What will make ordinary people more mobile? The clear value added of a Mobility Partnership on the level of a Member State is when this Member State changes its legal order to accommodate a mobility of a national of the partner third country. There are only two examples to date that clearly illustrate this: 1 a Polish initiative opening its labour market to the temporary labour migration from the countries which signed the MP; 2 the German initiative to offer to its long-term residents the possibility of return to home country for extended periods of time up to 2 years without losing the residence rights.

These are pretty direct and straightforward initiatives that bring more value into the MPs. Other mobility enhancers have included agreements on portability of rights. This leads to the next point. Due to the division of competences, the EU cannot address the most common requirements which have been put forward by prospective partners: economic migration channels, skills recognition, or integration policy. These are domains of the EU Member States. And thus the Mobility Partnership must be in this case a sum of offers of participating Member States.

To the date, all 27 have never signed up for one MP. This is often seen as a weakness of the instrument, but is it really? When a Tunisian official wants economic migration channels to the EU, he surely does not mean sending Tunisians to Bulgaria or Latvia, rather to France or Italy. Does he need a MP to do this? Certainly not.

European Agenda on Migration: 2 Years On

Of course, one may argue, there is a rationale for including bilateral agreements into the MP — when a bilateral legal migration scheme with France will make Tunisia cooperate with other EU Member States on the issues of illegal migration. It also showed that, in Spain as in Italy, Greece, and Romania , the public is more concerned about people leaving the country than those coming in. And invasion anxiety is still likely to flare up, prompted by images of flimsy boats crowded with determined irregular migrants that are making their way towards Spanish shores or by large-scale jumps at the border-crossings at Ceuta and Melilla.

Spain has long been at the forefront of EU efforts to integrate and Europeanise justice and home affairs policies, both in its internal and external dimensions. In particular, since developing its own migration externalisation agenda in , Spain has been a staunch proponent of strengthening the European external dimension by encouraging cooperation with origin countries. From the very start, however, this approach has not won universal support in Brussels.

A Comprehensive European Migration Policy | LexUniversal

During the Cayuco crisis, the Spanish government went to the EU and other member states to try to Europeanise the issue and secure assistance. But, according to those involved at the time, other member states argued that this was a domestic issue and not a European concern — so Spain set about engaging with countries of origin on its own.

This approach finds expression in several key areas of Spanish-EU-third country interaction, including: Dublin Regulation asylum reform; border control; and the Spanish externalisation approach. While saw 16, asylum applications in Spain, this increased to 31, in and 54, in In the first five months of , the number of asylum applications in Spain rose to 46, And, despite the toxic nature of media attention on arrivals by sea, the number of asylum seeker s arriving by plane is increasingly significant.

However, since these asylum seekers from Latin America enter the country through airports, they are concealed from public view and hence gain less media and political attention. Media outlets and politicians in Spain are often quick to label migrant arrivals by boat as economic migration, and therefore less deserving. Today, those who seek asylum in Spain or, indeed, any other European state are almost always forced to embark on dangerous journeys.

With many people seeking asylum, the new government has made efforts to increase staffing numbers in the Asylum and Refuge Office, and to provide financial resources for first assistance on the ground. According to Human Rights Watch, migrants and asylum seekers arriving by boat are often held for days in dark, dank cells and are not systematically informed about the possibility of seeking asylum.

II - Divergent interests but balanced cooperation?

The Spanish government grants only one in four asylum applications , which is one of the lowest acceptance rates in Europe. Effectively, European leaders had designed a system of delegation that allows many of them to avoid dealing with migrants and refugees altogether. In the European Commission proposed a temporary relocation mechanism that met with considerable resistance, particularly from eastern European countries, despite including a clause that allowed nations to avoid receiving asylum seekers and to adopt alternative forms of solidarity. The relocation scheme was an attempt to put in place a system of solidarity among member states.

However, by , at the end of the two-year temporary relocation scheme, member states had accepted less than 30 percent of the asylum seekers they pledged to relocate in The relocation scheme was problematic partly because it was open only to asylum seekers from countries with a high rate of acceptance in Europe mainly Syrians and Eritreans.

Externalization/the Libyan case/le cas libyen

As a result, thousands of people in need of protection were left in precarious situations in Greece and Italy, lacking safe options for reaching other countries in Europe. Member states have now been in deadlock on Dublin Regulation reform for more than a year: some are against the idea of creating an obligatory relocation quota for asylum seekers and refugees.

In effect, these reforms would make states on the edge of the EU responsible for almost all asylum seekers. The reforms risk following the same logic that underpins externalisation practices involving third countries — turning southern European states into de facto detention centres for processing migrants and refugees. They would constitute a delegation of responsibility rather than a pursuit of European solidarity.

Spanish migration officials believe that Spain is being treated like a third country. Spain, like Italy and Greece, does not want to take permanent responsibility for asylum seekers or their return. In contrast, several member states — particularly Italy, Austria, Malta, Hungary, and Poland — continue to insist that they will not be compelled to accept migrants and refugees. The Spanish government has proposed a compromise within the context of the Dublin Regulation reform: to extend the period in which the first state of arrival is responsible for asylum claims from six months to two years — rather than indefinitely, as demanded by some member states.

Yet Spanish government insiders state that their objections to certain dimensions of the Dublin Regulation reform have led Brussels to take the view that Spain is part of a difficult club of member states, one that does not engage in European solidarity.

The proposed reform of Dublin Regulation IV is driven by anxiety about the need to counter the secondary movements of migrants from their country of arrival to other signatory states. In addressing how this affects Spain, the European Commission has even sought to frame the move as beneficial for the country and even an expression of solidarity with it.

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But the reform aims to support member states in containing migrants and refugees. As such, this expression of solidarity is more about preventing secondary movements of migrants than about strengthening the asylum system. Were it to agree to this proposal, the Spanish government would have extra resources with which to ensure that all arrivals are immediately fingerprinted and entered into the EURODAC database, for the purposes of the Dublin Regulation. But Spanish interior ministry sources argue that the Frontex reform is a poor use of funds, as it is less about making border control more effective and more about outsourcing the European asylum system.

In negotiations with the EU, the Spanish government has insisted that secondary movements should not be the pillar of the European asylum system. EU asylum legislation is being displaced by migration management concerns through an undue focus on obstructing secondary movements rather than harmonising asylum legislation.

Firstly, it involves informality and close cooperation. The high frequency of visits by Spanish officials to sub-Saharan African countries rests on an understanding of the importance of face-to-face contact.

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This implies going beyond thinking that EU-African relations should focus on border control to something much more multifaceted. Thirdly, Spain is committed to developing a common professional security community with third countries. Within this community, joint police stations in Spain and Morocco would enable officers from each country to work side by side on a daily basis.

Spain has also set up joint police posts in Senegal, Mauritania, and Niger. Governments and their people want more than merely to become the gendarme of Europe. Fourthly, Spain proposes continuity in partnerships. While the European Commission and certain member states tend to pursue cooperation as part of crisis management, Spanish officials stress the need to maintain relations over time.

Spain has an array of international agreements that it has developed over decades as part of its migration diplomacy , working with third countries on governing migration. For instance, Spain has developed a close long-term relationship with Morocco that is often heralded as involving significant best practice.


In Spain and Morocco signed a bilateral readmission agreement. Ten years later, by which time Morocco had become a transit and destination country, the Moroccan authorities stepped up policing of their borders and accepted an offer from Spain for technical and financial support to do this. Some studies have shown that open borders would result in less permanent migration and more forms of circular migration. Indeed, the perception among migrants that borders will soon be closed may induce them to use what they see as a window of opportunity before it is too late.

But the phenomenon of circulation is underexploited in both Spain and the EU more generally. Spain has not yet attempted to benefit from this reality by establishing a legal framework for circular migration and short-term mobility that could be mutually beneficial for both it and third countries such as Morocco. The Spanish government made cooperation with third countries to regulate migration flows an explicit requirement of its first Africa Plan Spain does not have the same historical ties to sub-Saharan Africa as countries such as France and the United Kingdom.

And, since the s, Spain has developed bilateral readmission agreements with several sub-Saharan African states, including Gambia and Guinea in , Cape Verde in , and Niger and Guinea-Bissau in Still, Spain has strived to develop a bilateral approach with African countries that goes beyond border control and migrant return by seeking to take account of their interests — through, for instance, the promotion of circular migration although this remains limited.

This has, at times, created tension between Spain and the European Commission, which has a tendency to impose a relationship characterised by border control and migrant returns. Spain has also sought more comprehensive policy solutions through international frameworks.

Despite its limitations as a non-binding document, the recent Marrakech Global Compact on Migration caused so much controversy that some EU member states Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia pulled out of it, in the name of protecting their sovereignty. Nonetheless, the pact helped frame the migration question as part of a values-based, principled, and comprehensive approach that ought to underpin the EU foreign policy agenda in the long term.

On the other hand, without this document, they would be liable for deportation. This had been expressed by some right-wing Spanish newspapers. The danger of theses fences is that the EU financial support for their construction might be considered as an implicit recognition of their being the de facto EU southern border. Therefore, regardless of the competition for regional influence in the Strait of Gibraltar and any unrest between Morocco and Spain that may be fuelled by the continued Spanish occupation of Ceuta and Melilla, maintaining the current status quo in the region remains the most acceptable option for all international actors concerned.

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