Mediterranean Flows into Europe: Migration and the EU's Foreign Policy

12-03-2014

A series of heartrending stories from Europe’s southern shores – near the Italian island of Lampedusa, in the Greek waters of the Aegean Sea, at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta – have brought Mediterranean migration to the top of the political agenda. EU leaders have emphasised the need for policies treating migration to be guided by the principles of 'prevention, protection and solidarity'. The Mediterranean Task Force, established in October 2013, has suggested 38 ways to prevent further loss of life. But beyond these immediate responses, the EU must engage in a broader and longer-term debate on the ways that migration is addressed by its different external policies – those touching on security, development cooperation, the neighbourhood policy and international protection. The European Parliament can play an important role by promoting a dialogue about migration with third countries. This discussion, which should be pursued through interparliamentary as well as inter-institutional discussions, may lead to stronger cooperation in the management of regular migration and a more effective fight against irregular migration. Whilst the Parliament should demand that all EU and third countries' policies fully respect human rights, it should also consider Mediterranean migration in a wider context and highlight the positive potential of human mobility for socioeconomic development.

A series of heartrending stories from Europe’s southern shores – near the Italian island of Lampedusa, in the Greek waters of the Aegean Sea, at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta – have brought Mediterranean migration to the top of the political agenda. EU leaders have emphasised the need for policies treating migration to be guided by the principles of 'prevention, protection and solidarity'. The Mediterranean Task Force, established in October 2013, has suggested 38 ways to prevent further loss of life. But beyond these immediate responses, the EU must engage in a broader and longer-term debate on the ways that migration is addressed by its different external policies – those touching on security, development cooperation, the neighbourhood policy and international protection. The European Parliament can play an important role by promoting a dialogue about migration with third countries. This discussion, which should be pursued through interparliamentary as well as inter-institutional discussions, may lead to stronger cooperation in the management of regular migration and a more effective fight against irregular migration. Whilst the Parliament should demand that all EU and third countries' policies fully respect human rights, it should also consider Mediterranean migration in a wider context and highlight the positive potential of human mobility for socioeconomic development.