Saturday 15. August 2020
#145 - January 2012


A Global Approach to Migration: now to include Mobility


The “Global Approach to Migration” has been expanded and now includes Mobility in a more migrant-centred approach.


The migration phenomenon is not about ‘flows’, ‘stocks’ and ‘routes’, but about people: their aspirations, problems, opportunities, rights and obligations. This personalised approach to migration is fostered by the European Commission in its Communication on Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, published on the 18 November 2011. This perspective shows a valuable evolution since the Tampere European Council for the first time introduced the idea of the so-called ‘comprehensive approach’ in migration issues: “addressing political, human rights and development issues in countries and regions of origin and transit.”


The 2005 Global Approach took its first actions in Africa, and it was extended to Eastern and Southeastern regions neighboring the EU under the German Presidency of 2007. But the different political perspectives of the Member States seem to strain the policy framework. The interests of partner countries are also diverse, and the weak position of the EU as an international actor has a direct impact on its cooperation on migration: in many cases, it is still the Member States and their bilateral relations that can move the cooperation forward (especially in the case of old colonial ties).


The new more strategic and cross-linkage 2011 Global Approach will be based on four equally important pillars which respect human rights: facilitating legal migration and mobility; preventing irregular migration and trafficking in human beings; promoting international protection; and (as a new one) enhancing the external dimension of asylum policy, maximising the development impact of migration and mobility while limiting its negative consequences. The geographically unrestricted 2011 Global Approach (that priorities the EU Neighbourhood, the EU-Africa Partnership and countries in the East) wants to be regarded as the overarching framework for the EU external migration policy, complementary to EU foreign policy and development cooperation. A balance between security and development perspectives, challenges and opportunities, is underlined in the proposal. In fact, the European Commission recently encouraged Member States to actively participate in migration, mobility and security dialogues with the new governments of North Africa and the Middle East.


The development dimension of the 2011 Global Approach (facilitating remittances, empowering Diasporas, promoting circular migration and avoiding brain drains) could be reinforced if it is coupled with external cooperation and policy dialogues. The Commission Staff Working Paper on Migration and Development also proposes to extend the agenda, and to include in it the protection of human rights of migrants during their transit process, their needs in countries of origin, their integration in countries of destination, and South-South migration issues.


Development can help the transition to modernity of third-countries but, as pointed out by Benedict XVI last November in Benin, it “should be guided by sure criteria based on recognized virtues…but equally which are firmly rooted in the dignity of the person, the importance of the family and respect for life.” The reopening of the public discussion on family reunification - following the recent publication of the Green Paper on the topic - would be a good opportunity to put into practice those principles in this sensitive but relevant migration issue.


There is a growing need to promote better governance of migration. There are some instruments available, like the Mobility Partnership, but this one requires further development: already launched with Moldova, Cape Verde, Georgia and, most recently, with Armenia, it will be offered to the EU's immediate Neighbourhood and to Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt. In this and in other agreements, developing countries should be considered as protagonists and responsible actors in migration, in peer-to-peer relationships between them and the EU, as shown by the Joint Africa EU Strategy Action Plan 2011-2013.


José Luis Bazán

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Note: The views expressed in europeinfos are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Jesuit European Office and COMECE.