The EU and Migration

Ceccorulli, Michela (2012). The EU and Migration. EU-GRASP. United Nations University.

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  • Author Ceccorulli, Michela
    Title The EU and Migration
    Series Title EU-GRASP
    Volume/Issue No. 5
    Publication Date 2012-03-01
    Place of Publication Bruges
    Publisher United Nations University
    Pages 11
    Language eng
    Abstract The 2010 Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (European Commission 2011) has counted at 570000 the number of irregularly staying third country nationals apprehended in the EU in 2009, while 394000 persons were refused entry in 2010 (European Migration Network 2011). As for asylum, 257815 applications have been recorded in Member States in 2010, a decreasing number with respect to previous years (UNHCR 2011). The relevance that migration as an issue area is progressively assuming in the European Union’s agenda has been recently further underlined by the events occurred in North Africa and the Middle East. The latest report delivered by the FRONTEX Risk Analysis Network (FRAN) has shown that the focus on irregular immigration at the EU’s  external border has been recently shifting from the East to the Central Mediterranean, with a remarkable increase in detection of illegal border crossing in the first quarter of 2011 with respect to previous figures (FRAN Quarterly 2011). The European response to the uprisings in the region has been quite fragmented and uncoordinated. The EU was called to demonstrate its external security actorness, showing resolve and playing its  role  as  a  ‘model’  supporting  democratic  transitions.  Also,  and  with  a view to the mounting flows of people trying their way to Europe, it was called to show internal coordination and solidarity in accordance to its commitment to a common migration and asylum policy. Alas, the European Union has fallen short of expectations. The tepid resolution and the patchy answer to the crises in the immediate neighborhood invite reflections on two fronts: externally, the European Union has shown a general preference for stability in the near abroad; abating previous regimes would put in danger agreements on the control of illegal flows. Internally, Member States have buck-passed responsibilities on flow management and the rise of national barriers has been adopted as first tool to handle the crisis. Both elements testify to a general interpretation of illegal flows towards the EU as a security challenge, an understanding that has largely characterized the Union’s  and  Member  States’  policies  on  migration  and  asylum in the last decades and that has also informed relations with strategic partners on the matter (in particular the United States). Ultimately, though, this approach has backfired on the EU, the external and internal credibility thereof seems to be questioned. To have an impact on global politics the EU should live up to its aspirations, act coherently and comply with fundamental principles subsumed in its experience. Part to this process would imply to deviate from a prevalently security interpretation and governance of illegal immigration, which looks as short-sided and flawed a strategy to face the phenomenon.
    Copyright Holder United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
    Copyright Year 2012
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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