The EU’s Migration Partnership Framework: Time for a rethink

Photo: Refugee Camp in Eritrea

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.

Economic Development and Migration in Africa: Going beyond just ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’

Photo: Kusile_Power_Station,Witbank, south Africa

Policy makers, struggling to respond to migration within Africa and from Africa to Europe, have turned to economic development as a means to improve prospects in potential migrants’ home countries. The logic goes, if people have livelihoods in their home countries they are less likely to undertake the dangerous journey across Africa and the Mediterranean to Europe.

The EU’s Response to the Refugee Crisis: More Support for ECOWAS Migration Management Needed

Image: Boat

Migration-focused policies needed

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.

What Implications for Future EU Development Policy?

Image: Refugee Camp

Transactional deals on migration management

The EU is currently in the process of revising its overarching vision on development policy, the European Consensus on Development. This process requires an honest examination of some of the contradictions that have emerged between, on one hand, the EU’s development commitments and principles and its long-term interests in a building a genuine partnership with Africa for sustainable development, and, on the other hand, a growing trend towards using development aid for short term security and migration management priorities. These tensions are clearly highlighted in the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) which was established at the Valletta Summit in November 2015.