As European and African leaders gather in Abidjan, tensions over migration continue to simmer. Since 2015, the EU has developed a range of initiatives aimed at reducing migrant arrivals from Africa. The most controversial of these has been the Migration Partnership Framework (MPF). With its emphasis on keeping people out and sending them back, its bilateral and transactional approach to engagement with African partners, and its explicit use of positive and negative incentives, the MPF epitomises the most disturbing trends in EU migration policy.
The EU emphasizes the mainstreaming of migration in development cooperation as a crucial issue to finding lasting solutions to irregular migration. The EU’s approach to the crisis focuses on supporting national and regional migration strategies and a ‘cash-for-cooperation’ conditionality strategy setting financial incentives to increase readmission of African migrants. But a considerable option for better migration management may be the promotion of an effective regional migration within the African continent in a development-friendly way. That would mean to establish or to strengthen migration regimes and institutions, which are capable of protecting migrants and enhancing the positive effects of migration like remittances or knowledge transfer.