Migrations across the Mediterranean and Europe: What does the future hold?

The Arab Spring revolutions have cast a stark light on the authoritarian nature of the regimes with which the EU had been working for years to stem the flow of migration from the Mediterranean’s southern shore to the countries of Europe. A particularly tense and critical moment in this effort, before the transformations that would overtake North Africa, came in the summer of 2005, when the Spanish border patrol and Moroccan authorities used force on migrants storming the border fences surrounding the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco: several were killed in the incident, and the migrants were then deported to locations in the Moroccan desert (Cassarino and Lavenex 2012, 284). But the incident also set off a broad debate that in December of the same year prompted the Council of the European Union to put out a policy statement outlined in a document titled “Global Approach to Migration: Priority Actions Focusing on Africa and the Mediterranean.”

“The European Council,” the policy statement says, “agrees to initiate priority actions with a focus on Africa and the Mediterranean countries,” and does so on “an integrated and global approach” that in the short term is designed to “reduce illegal migration flows and the loss of lives” and “ensure safe return of illegal migrants” but in the long term seeks to form a “genuine partnership” with the same countries, looking to “strengthen durable solutions for refugees and build capacity to better manage migration, including through maximising the benefits to all partners of legal migration, while fully respecting human rights and the individual’s right to seek asylum” (Council of the European Union 2005, 1). Among other things, this entails the need “to promote cheaper and more easily available remittance services and support ongoing efforts by international organisations to improve data on remittance flows,” as well as to “consider supporting efforts of African states to facilitate members of diasporas to contribute to their home countries, including through co-development actions, and explore options to mitigate the impact of skill losses in vulnerable sectors” (ibid., 6).

In short, what the Council issued was a two-pronged policy statement. For on the one hand it stressed migration control and the need to return migrants to their countries of origin, but on the other hand it introduced the idea that the problem of migration cannot be attacked separately from that of development. The Council accordingly embraced a codevelopment vision that supported a policy of integrating migrants and creating the conditions that would enable them to participate in the labour market.

The Council’s 2005 policy statement also stressed the need to “work with neighbouring countries” (ibid., 6). More to the point, the idea was to negotiate with Morocco, Algeria, and Libya in order to find schemes under which to


The concept of codevelopment was introduced by the Algerian-born French political scientist Sami Nair, who described it as a proposal aimed at integrating immigration with development in such a way that the country of origin, no less than the host country, can draw benefit from the migratory flow. This means that the two countries need to establish a consensual arrangement under which the contribution that migrants make to the host country does not translate into a loss for the country of origin (cf. Nair 1997). Following France’s lead, Spain worked the idea of codevelopment into its own migration policy. As Carlos Giménez explains the idea, “codevelopment involves initiatives that two or more organizations in two or more countries linked by a migratory flow undertake for the mutual benefit of those countries under a scheme of mutual support. These initiatives are carried out both in the country of origin and in the host country. Their main thrust comes from a group of migrants in the host country” (Giménez 2004; my translation). See also Gozzi, Venturi, and Furia 2011, 5ff.

cooperate in the fight against human trafficking and in readmitting migrants to their home countries. As Hugo Brady (2012, 278) points out, however, “related negotiations have failed in the past because ‘a country with 2,000 nationals illegally resident in the EU, sending money back home, is infinitely better off than a country with 2,000 extra unemployed people,’ according to a senior official working in the JHA [Justice and Home Affairs] Council.” Implicit in that remark is the recognition that the problem of migration cannot be solved without first addressing the need to redefine Euro-Mcditerranean relations in the new landscape that was formed in the wake of the Arab Springs.

The EU carried on with its policy of closing up its borders and clamping down on so-called illegal migration. The question now is whether it is sustainable for the EU to continue along the same course after the dramatic events of the Arab Springs and the surge in migration that followed.

In 2011, while serving as European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Mahnstrdm put forward a policy proposal to form mobility partnerships with the southern Mediterranean countries, describing this policy as built around migrants and designed to ensure that human rights are protected both in Europe and in third countries. In that spirit, she stressed the need for closer cooperation with these countries, in such a way that both sides stand to benefit. And the mobility partnerships themselves she envisioned as playing an important part in the process through which to democratize the North African countries (Malmstrom 2011).

What exactly would go into these mobility partnerships was not immediately clarified. In November 2011 the European Commission issued a communication titled “The Global Approach to Migration and Mobility” (GAMM), stating that “The Arab Spring and events in the Southern Mediterranean in 2011 further highlighted the need for a coherent and comprehensive migration policy for the EU” (EC 2011c, 2). “The Commission,” the document goes on to state, “has already presented a range of policy proposals and operational measures on migration, mobility, integration and international protection [...]. Those proposals were fully endorsed by the European Council in June,” and the EU has since

taken immediate action by launching dialogues on migration, mobility and security with Tunisia and Morocco [...] and making the necessary preparations to start the dialogue with Egypt. Similar dialogues will follow with other countries in the Southern Mediterranean region, notably with Libya [...]. The dialogues allow the EU and the partner countries to discuss [...] all aspects of their possible cooperation in managing migration flows and circulation of persons with a view to establishing Mobility Partnerships. (Ibid.)

In the document, the GAMM is described as resting on “four equally important pillars: “(1) organising and facilitating legal migration and mobility; (2) preventing and reducing irregular migration and trafficking in human beings; (3) promoting

Democratization and development 235 international protection and enhancing the external dimension of asylum policy; (4) maximising the development impact of migration and mobility” (ibid., 7).

Under the first pillar, the GAMM was focussed on a number of priorities that included facilitating the mobility of youth, students, and researchers; streamlining the visa programme; and making it easier to find information about job openings (ibid., 15).

Under the second pillar, the GAMM priorities included (a) the “transfer of skills, capacity and resources to partners to prevent and reduce trafficking, smuggling and irregular migration, to ensure return and readmission, and to strengthen integrated border management”; (b) “cooperation on document security, paving the way for visa facilitation for frequent travellers from priority partner countries”; and (c) “initiatives to provide better protection for and empower victims of trafficking in human beings” (ibid., 17).

Under the third pillar, the document reads, “the EU needs to enhance solidarity with refugees and displaced persons and such efforts should become an integral part of the GAMM. The EU should increase cooperation with relevant non-EU countries in order to strengthen their asylum systems and national asylum legislation and to ensure compliance with international standards. This could enable these countries to offer a higher standard of international protection for asylum-seekers and displaced people who remain in the region of origin of conflicts or persecution. The EU should encourage its partner countries to incorporate this dimension in their national poverty reduction strategies” (ibid.).

On 12 June 2013 the European Parliament approved an asylum package establishing a framework legislation for building a common European asylum system (outlined in EC 2014). Under this system, effective from the fall of 2015, all EU member states can rely on a common framework for granting asylum, enabling “more countries [...] to take responsibility for the people who come for protection in Europe” (Malmstrom 2013).

Finally, under the fourth pillar, the GAMM priorities include (a) “diaspora investment vehicles that could channel the voluntary contributions by the diaspora and adding EU resources to boost the development-oriented initiatives and investments in priority countries, such as in the Southern Mediterranean”; (b) “private-public partnerships to engage migrant entrepreneurs and SMEs in trade, investment and skills transfers between EU Member States and partner countries,” with a view to capacity-building in these countries; and (c) “assistance to partner countries to identify and monitor bona fide recruiters in order to empower migrants, notably with a view to facilitating circular migration” (EC 2011c, 20).

However, despite these principled policy statements, the EU has yet to commit to a global approach to migration and mobility: its focus continues to be aimed at clamping down on migration and stemming its flow (Lavenex and Stucky 2011, 136). Indeed, “Schengen countries have reintroduced border controls on around 70 different occasions since border controls first came down in 1995” (Brady 2012, 275). In June 2011 the European Council met to discuss migration with a view to renegotiating the Schengen principles. In its conclusions to this meeting, the Council stated that “a safeguard clause could be introduced toallow the exceptional réintroduction of internal border controls in a truly critical situation where a Member State is no longer able to comply with its obligations under the Schengen rules” (European Council 2011, p. 8, § 22).[1]

To be sure, the Schengen Borders Code, of 2006, did include language under which “Member States should also have the possibility of temporarily reintroducing border control at internal borders in the event of a serious threat to their public policy or internal security,” and so the European Council conclusions of 2011 had a legal basis in their intent to make border controls easier in the face of the perceived threat posed by migration. But the “Schengen rulebook” has become an object of debate in the wake of the Arab Springs, and a wide range of positions have taken shape in this regard across Europe. Hugo Brady identifies four camps: we have (») the “nervous policemen” of Northern Europe, “including France and Germany, for which Schengen’s border and policing arrangements do not guarantee enough security”; (ii) the “disgruntled border guards” of southern Europe, who “want the right to make exceptions to the EU’s ‘Dublin regulation’ on asylum, which stipulates that they must care for all asylum seekers who reach their shores first without sending them on to richer countries further north,” but who “have no wish to see reform damage the rights of their own citizens to move around freely”; (Hi) the “idealistic free movers [...] of the Schengen area to the east,” who “hugely value passport-free travel and arc therefore suspicious of any changes to the Schengen system”; and (iv) the “libertarian legal eagles,” who “are not states but EU institutions such as the European Commission, Parliament and Court of Justice,” and whose “mission [...] is to maintain the openness of national frontiers to goods, services, capital and people,” considering as well that they are “largely immune from anti-immigration politics” (Brady 2012, 276).

These divergent views and competing interests explain the European impasse on immigration and Europe’s inability to coalesce around a coherent policy vision on which basis to address the challenge posed by the flow of immigrants coming into Europe. To this end, as suggested, there needs to be an appreciation that the challenge can no longer be framed exclusively as an emergency situation or a security problem but is tied in with broader trends that are bound to have a lasting effect. It is for this reason that Euro-Meditcrranean relations need to be set on an entirely new basis, proceeding from an understanding of migrants as transnational actors capable of contributing to the development of the countries they leave behind as well as the countries they find refuge in.

Works Cited

Abedini, Javad, and Nicolas Péridy. 2008. “The Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA): An Estimation of Trade Effects.” Journal of Economic Integration 23, no. 4: 848-72.

Alaoui, Hicham Ben Abdallah E1-. 2011. “Egypt Catches Tunisia’s Fire: The Arab Wall Begins to Fall.” Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2011. https://mondediplo. com/2011/02/03uprising. Published in French under the title “Tunisie, les éclaireurs.” https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2011/02/EL_ALAOUI/20111

Amoroso, Bruno. 2007. “Política di vicinato о progetto comune?” In L’alternativa mediterránea, edited by Franco Cassano and Danilo Zolo, 493-515. Milan: Feltrinelli.

Angioi, Silvia. 2006. Il principio di condizionalitd e la política mediterránea dell’Unione Europea. Naples: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane.

Balfour, Rosa. 2012. “New Paradigms for the EU-South Mediterranean: Rethinking Conditionality?” Med. 2012 (lEMed: European Institute of the Mediterranean): 64-68.

Ben Achour, Yadh. 1992. Politique, religion et droit dans le monde arabe. Tunis: Ceres Productions.

Bensedrine, Sihem, and Omar Mestiri. 2004. L’Europe et ses despotes: Quand le soutien au “modele tunisien” dans le monde arabe fait le jeu du terrorismo islamiste. Paris: La Decouverte.

Brady, Hugo. 2012. “The Schengen Crisis in the Framework of the Arab Spring.” Med. 2012 (lEMed: European Institute of the Mediterranean): 275-78.

Brumberg, Daniel. 2002. “Democratization in the Arab World? The Trap of Liberalized Autocracy.” Journal of Democracy 13, no. 4: 56-68.

Cassarino, Jean-Pierre. 2012. “Reversing the Hierarchy of Priorities in EU-Mediterranean Relations.” In The European Union and the Arab Spring: Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East, edited by Joel Peters, 1-15. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Cassarino, Jean-Pierre, and Sandra Lavenex. 2012. “EU-Migration Governance in the Mediterranean Region: The Promise of (a Balanced) Partnership?” Med. 2012 (lEMed: European Institute of the Mediterranean): 284-88.

Cavatorta, Francesco. 2016. “A Clash of Civilizations inside the MENA Countries? Islamist versus Secular Civil Society and the Failure of Pro-Democracy Policies. In Clash or Cooperation of Civilizations? Overlapping Integration and Identities, edited by Wolfgang Zank, 27-42. London and New York: Routledge.

Colombo, Silvia, and Nathalie Tocci. 2012. “The EU Response to the Arab Uprising: Old Wine in New Bottles?” In Rethinking Western Policies in Light of the Arab Uprising, edited by Riccardo Alcaro and Miguel Haubrich-Seco, 71-96. Rome: Nuova Cultura.

Council of the European Union. 2005. “Global Approach to Migration: Priority Actions Focusing on Africa and the Mediterranean.” Doc. No. 15744/05. Brussels, 13 December 2005.

EC. 2011a. European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean.” COM(2011) 200 final. Brussels, 8 March 2011.

EC. 2011b. European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “A New Response to a Changing Neighbourhood.” COM(2011) 303 final. Brussels, 25 May 2011.

EC. 2011c. European Commission. “The Global Approach to Migration and Mobility.” COM(2011) 743 final. Brussels, 18 November 2011.

EC. 2014. European Commission, Home Affairs. “A Common European Asylum System.” Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

European Council. 2011. From the General Secretariat of the Council to the Delegations. Subject: European Council, 23-24 June 2011, Conclusions. EUCO 23/11. Brussels, 24 June 2011.

European Parliament (plenary sitting). 2011. “Motion for a Resolution to Wind up the Debate on the Commission Statement pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure on changes to Schengen.” Drafted by Carlos Coelho, Manfred Weber, Roberta Angclilli, Giovanni La Via, and Salvatore lacolino on behalf of the European People’s Party Group. Doc. No. B7-0393/2011,4 July 2011.

Gallina, Andrea. 2007. “From Security to Development: Migration Contribution to Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation.” Mediterranean Journal of Human Rights 11, no. 2: 283-313.

Giménez, Carlos. 2004. Migraciones y desarrollo: Estudio de dos casos particulares; Ecuador y Marruecos. Madrid: Centro de Estudios de Cooperación al Desarrollo (CECOD).

Gomez, Ricardo. 2018. Negotiating the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Strategic Action in EU Foreign Policy? Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Gozzi, Gustavo, Bernardo Venturi, and Annalisa Furia. 2011. Migration, Development and Human Rights: AMITIE Context Report. Comune di Bologna/University of Bologna. Available at http://www.comune.bologna.it/amitie/documents.php

Halliday, Fred. 2011. “The Age of the Three Dustbins” (2005). In Political Journeys: The Open Democracy Essays, edited by David Hayes, 49-54. London: Saqi Books.

Henry, Jean-Robert. 2008. “French Initiative in the Mediterranean Region: Back to Square One?” Med. 2008 (lEMed: European Institute of the Mediterranean): 37-43.

Hollis, Rosemary. 2012. “No Friend of Democratization: Europe’s Role in the Genesis of the ‘Arab Spring.’” International Affairs 88, no. 1: 81-94.

Jordan Times Editor. 2011. “Masadeh Quits Mediterranean Union Top Post.” Jordan Times, January 28. https://mideastenvironment.appsOl.yorku.ca/2011/01/masadeh-quits-mediterranean-union-top-post-jordan-times/

Jiinemann, Annette. 2005. “Zchn Jahre Barcelona-Prozess.” Aus Politik andZeitgeschichte (APuZ) 45: 7-14.

Khader, Bichara. 2008. Introduction to “Barcelone 2010 et l’Union pour la Mediterranée: Quelles perspectives?” In Europe - Méditerranée: Enjeux, stratégies, réformes, 137-41. Barcelona: lEMed (Institut Europeu de la Mediterrània).

Lavenex, Sandra, and Rachel Stucky. 2011. “Partnering for Migration in EU External Relations.” In Multilayered Migration Governance: The Promise of Partnership, edited by Rahel Kunz, Sandra Lavenex, and Marion Panizzon, 116-42. London: Routledge.

Malmstrom, Cecilia. 2011. “Partnerships for Mobility.” Blog post, 18 November 2011. http://blogs.ec.europa.cu/malmstrom/tag/mobility-partnership (archived on 18 November 2014).

Malmstrom, Cecilia. 2013. “A Common European Asylum System Is Here.” Blog post, 12 June 2013. Archived on 18 November 2014, now available at https://cecilial96. rssing.com/ chan-12001148/all_p 1. html

Martin Munoz, Gema. 2010. “Democracy and the Arab World: The ‘Islamist Dilemma.’” In Why Europe Must Engage with Political Islam: 10 Papers for Barcelona 2010 (Paper 5, February 2010), edited by Amr Elshobaki and Gema Martín Munoz, with an introduction by Bassina Kodmani, 21-33. Paris: EU Institute for Security Studies; Barcelona: European Institute of the Mediterranean.

Mohsen-Finan, Khadija. 2009. “The Union tor the Mediterranean: The Difficulty of‘Managing Proximity.’” Med. 2009(IEMed: European Institute of the Mediterranean): 96-100.

Mouhoud, El Mouhoub. 2012. “The Arab Economies in the Face of Crisis: Assessment and Perspectives since the Tunisian Revolution.” Med. 2012 (lEMed: European Institute of the Mediterranean): 39^14.

Naïr, Sami. 1997. “Rapport de bilan et d’orientation sur la politique de codéveloppement liée aux flux migratoires” (1 January 1997). Mission interministérielle au codéveloppement et aux migrations internationales. Paris: Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, https:// www. vie-publique, ff/rapport/24358-rapport-de-bilan-et-dorientation-sur-la-politique-de-codeveloppement-li

Nicosia, Aldo. 2011. “La Tunisia dalla rivoluzione alla nuova costituzione.” Chap. 5 in Le rivoluzioni arabe: La transizione mediterránea, edited by Francesca Maria Corrao. Milan: Mondadori.

Paciello, Maria Cristina. 2013. “The Euro Crisis and Euro-Mediterranean Relations.” Med. 2013 (lEMed: European Institute of the Mediterranean): 83-88.

Panebianco, Stefania. 2003. “The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in Perspective: The Political and Institutional Context.” In A New Euro-Mediterranean Cultural Identity, edited by Stefania Panebianco, 1-20. London, Frank Cass.

Reinhardt, Ulrike Julia. 2002. “Civil Society Cooperation in the EMP: From Declarations to Practice.” EuroMeSCo Papers 15, May 2002. https://www.euromesco.net/publication/ civil-society-co-operation-in-the-emp-from-declarations-to-practice/

Romagnoli, Alessandro, and Luisa Mengoni. 2014. “Human Capital and Labour Markets in the MENA Region.” Chap. 7 in The Economic Development Process in the Middle East and North Africa. London and New York: Routledge.

Saaf, Abdallah. 2010. “La sécurité humaine comme nouvelle perspective de coopération.” In Human Security: A New Perspective for Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation: 10 Papers for Barcelona (Paper 3, February 2010), edited by Roberto Aliboni and Abdallah Saaf, with an introduction by Atila Erlap, 29-36. Paris: EU Institute for Security Studies; Barcelona: European Institute of the Mediterranean.

Sarkozy, Nicolas. 2007. Discours du Président de la République M. Nicolas Sarkozy sur le thème de l’Union de la Méditerranée. Palais Royal Marshan, Tangiers, 23 October 2007. Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires Étrangères, https://jo.ambafrance.org/ Discours-de-M-Nicolas-Sarkozy.

Solana, Javier. 2001. “Europe: Security in the Twenty-First Century.” The Olof Palme Memorial Lecture, Stockholm, June 20. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/ cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/discours/ACF332.htm

Sophocles. 1906. “Antigone.” In The Dramas of Sophocles Rendered in English Verse Dramatic & Lyric by Sir George Young. Everyman’s Library, edited by Ernest Rhys, 1-41. London: J. M. Dent & Sons.

UN. 2015. The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015. New York: United Nations.

UNDP. 2005. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS). Arab Human Development Report 2004: Towards Freedom in the Arab World. New York: United Nations Publications.

UNDP. 2009. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS). Arab Human Development Report 2009: Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries. New York: United Nations Publications.

UNDP. 2011. Arab Development Challenges Report 2011: Towards the Developmental State in the Arab Region. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Centre tor Arab States, Cairo.

World Bank. 2014. The Unfinished Revolution: Bringing Opportunity, Good Jobs and Greater Wealth to All Tunisians. Report No. 86179-TN, May 2014. Washington, DC: World Bank Group.

Zank, Wolfgang. 2016. “The Gradual Europeanization of North Africa.” In Clash or Cooperation of Civilizations? Overlapping Integration and Identities, edited by Wolfgang Zank, 109-146. London and New York: Routledge.

  • [1] Compare the language in the motion for a joint resolution subsequently introduced in the European Parliament: “Member States want, as a very last resort, in the framework of this mechanism, the introduction of a safeguard clause to allow the exceptional réintroduction of internal border controls in a truly critical situation where a Member State is no longer able to comply with its obligations under the Schengen rules” (European Parliament 2011, 3, whereas M). 2 Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 Establishing a Community Code on the rules Governing the Movement of Persons Across Borders (Schengen Borders Code). OJ L 105, 13.4.2006, p. 2, § 15.
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source