From the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) to the European Agenda on Migration (EAM): a comparative analysis

Objectives and geographical scope

The objectives of the European Agenda on Migration (EAM) do not seem to differ much from those of the GAMM. The emphasis is increasingly put on enhancing third countries’ migration management capacities, fighting against human trafficking and returning irregular migrants, much to the detriment of mobility. The main objectives of the MPF are similar to those of the Mobility Partnerships, as they cover irregular migration, legal migration and asylum. Moreover, the negotiation of a readmission agreement was a key prerequisite to the conclusion of a Mobility Partnership. Now, with the MPF, return remains one of the chief interests, as the MPF mentions that the relationship between the EU and third countries will be ‘guided by the ability and willingness of the countries to cooperate on migration management, notable in effectively preventing irregular migration and readmitting irregular migrants’. However, there is no longer any mention of a visa facilitation agreement, which was a key element in ensuring that Mobility Partnerships remained balanced instruments. The Partnership Framework puts a tougher accent on return, underlining that the ‘EU’s goal should now be specific and measurable increases in the number and rate of return and readmission’.[1] The consistent difficulties in concluding binding readmission agreements with third countries arguably explains the shift towards a more operational cooperation on return. According to Juan Santos Vara, this marks a key step in the ‘process of informalisation of EU external migration policy’.’’ He argues that this informalisation started in 2005, with the establishment of the Global Approach to Migration and the launch of soft law instruments, such as the Mobility Partnerships, but the MPF has led to a new level of informalisation, particularly of readmission, as now operational agreements with third countries have replaced legally binding readmission agreements.

While the GAMM is not restricted geographically, what does differ across regions is the ‘intensity and degree to which the approach is applied, and the mix of instruments used’. Moreover, the geographic scope of the EAM is more restrictive than that of the GAMM, as it focuses mainly on regions ‘where most of the migrants reaching Europe originate from’, with the goal of curbing immigration from these regions to Europe. Moreover, the geographical scope of the MPF is different from that of the GAMM, because it identifies priority countries in advance, while Mobility Partnerships are meant to cover the EU’s eastern and southern regions, and CAMMs have no geographical limitations at all. The priority countries for the MPF are Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia. Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia are also covered by a Mobility Partnership, and the EU concluded CAMMs with both Ethiopia and Nigeria.

Furthermore, the Commission admitted that the creation of a common European Migration Policy was a failure, and it acknowledged that the EU needed to try a new method to connect internal and external policies on migration. The Commission suggested in the European Agenda on Migration that the EU and the Member States should ‘work together with partner countries to put in place concrete measures to prevent hazardous journeys’. Moreover, the MPF is presented by the Commission as a ‘coherent and tailored engagement where the Union and its Member States act in a coordinated manner’. In these documents cooperation with third countries is again highlighted as the pivotal point of the EU response to migration flows. Additionally, bilateral relations between an EU Member State and a third country are put at the centre of the relationship. The

Communication on establishing a new Partnership Framework underlines that ‘the special relationships that Member States may have with third countries, reflecting political, historic and cultural ties fostered through decades of contact, should also be exploited to the full for the benefit of the EU. ... The Member States with the most developed bilateral relationships with a particular country should be fully involved in the EU’s discussions with it’.[2] On paper, Mobility Partnerships aimed at developing a more collaborative approach between Member States. The Commission called EU Member States to make more efforts towards ensuring coherency and integration in their strategies and programmes, yet, in practice, national migration policies were always at the heart of Mobility Partnerships. As we have seen throughout the book, postcolonial ties linking a Member State and a third country’ strongly influenced the conclusion and implementation of Mobility Partnerships.

  • [1] Ibid 7. 2 Juan Santos Vara ‘Soft international agreements on migration cooperation with third countries: A challenge to democratic and judicial controls in the EU’ 25 in Sergio Carrera, Juan Santos Vara and Tineke Strik (eds), Constitutionalising the External Dimensions of EU Migration Policies in Times of Crisis (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar 2019). 3 European Commission (n9) 7. 4 European Commission (n!9) 8. 5 Ibid. 6 European Commission (n!62) 4. 7 European Commission (n50) 6.
  • [2] Ibid 8. 2 Council of the European Union (n78) Point 11. 3 Ernst Georg Ravenstein, ‘The Laws of Migration’ (1885) J Royal Stat Soc 48(2) 167; Ernst Georg Ravenstein, ‘The Laws of Migration’ (1889) J Royal Stat Soc 52(2) 241. 4 Everett S. Lee, ‘A Theory' of Migration’ (1966) Demography 3(1) 47; Constantine Passaris, ‘Immigration and the Evolution of Economic Theory’ (1989) Int Migr 27(4) 525. 5 Stephen Castles, Hein de Haas and Mark J Miller, The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World (Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan 2014) 28; Thomas K. Bauer and Klaus F. Zimmermann, ‘Causes
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