Migration and Refugee Governance in the Mediterranean: Europe and International Organisations at a Crossroads

Written by | Saturday, December 12th, 2015

Sarah Wolff (Instituto Affari Internazionali)

Since the beginning of this year, more than 644,000 immigrants have tried to reach Europe out of which 3,135 died during the dangerous trip. Since the turn of the millennium, the journey has ended so tragically for more than 22,000 migrants. The Union’s incapability to create and effectively enforce a common asylum and migration policy is to be blamed for this humanitarian disaster. The competencies and responsibility for it are both vaguely defined and fragmented across the Member States, third countries and the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the EU (FRONTEX).

The existing approach of the EU and its Member States to the Mediterranean migration can be characterized as “Eurocentric” and its main purpose is to minimize the risks for the Member States. The evidence of such an approach may be seen in the present voices from, for example, Germany or France, which are calling for the introduction of an “off-shore” procedure of the processing of asylum applications (the processing under this model is carried out on the territory of the countries of origin when the migrant is not admitted to the territory of the destination country until his/her application is evaluated positively).

International and regional organizations are relatively neglected players in the public debate on migration. As an example, one can mention the inter-governmental initiative called the “Rabat Process”  (also known as the ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration and Development), which is designed to create a platform for the joint negotiation of European, African and Middle Eastern countries. These and other initiatives, however, suffer from the fact that they are not given sufficient powers, their objectives are inconsistent and also often resemble „discussion clubs“ than executive bodies. The same applies to other similar regional associations and initiatives – “Dialogue 5+5“ or the “Dialogue on Mediterranean Transit-Migration“.

(The study can be downloaded here: http://www.clingendael.nl/sites/default/files/Migration_and_refugee_governance_Med_final.pdf)

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