Given the new globalisation effects in modern societies and the consequences of the financial crisis, EU adopted a new approach towards immigration policy. This European policy intends to establish bilateral and multilateral agreements with EU neighbours and other countries presenting immigration flows towards the EU, in order to benefit the human capital from the countries concerned.
The European Neighbourhood policy has already established and developed several cooperation schemes on migration between EU and other countries. Nevertheless, the Directorate General of External Relations and Foreign Affairs and the DG Justice and Citizens’ rights need to strengthen and improve the coordination between EU Member States, European Policies and third countries.
The Commissions’ communications on migration and mobility published on May 5, 2011 (COM (2011) 248 final), as well as the one published on November 18, 2011 (COM (2011) 743 final) are proposing a more strategic and efficient global approach with stronger links and alignment between EU policy areas and between external and internal dimensions of those policies.
To this end and reflecting the Stockholm programme and the Stockholm Programme Action Plan, the European Council invited the Commission to present an evaluation report on a global approach to migration and set out a more consistent, systematic and strategic policy framework for the EU’s relations with all relevant non-EU countries.
Mobility of third country nationals across the external EU borders is of strategic importance and in this regard, the visa policy is an influential instrument for the expansion of this policy framework to include also mobility. The wider framework of the GAMM (Global Approach to Migration and Mobility) aims at ensuring that visa obligations are facilitated or even lifted and that EU external migration policy can serve broader objectives such as development cooperation through potential synergies.
These synergies get realised under the establishment of a series of External Action Programmes which are managed by the European External Action Service (EEAS). The building of regular political steering at bilateral or national level with key partner countries is firmly promoted by a number of programmes dedicated to support the cooperation of the instruments, the monitoring of mechanisms and the creation of Strategic Partnerships, Association Agreements and Joint Cooperation Councils.
Europe 2020 Strategy including migration and mobility among its aims, targets at contributing to the competitiveness of the EU as well as to the development of policies regarding the portability of social and pension rights between EU and non-EU countries’ citizens. The integration of the economic migration dimension into the EU can also be completed by the successful transfer of know-how through the crucial role of education and training which is fully supported by programmes on lifelong learning methods and exchanges.
The thematic priorities of this policy are focused on a good governance of migration and mobility of third countries with lower levels of irregular migration and an effective return policy. To this end, EU will improve the efficiency of its external borders on a basis of more practical and operational cooperation based on an efficient capacity-building with its partner countries. In parallel, the EU and its Member States support international protection and the external dimension of asylum needs to be given a greater visibility as well expressed in the Regional Protection Programmes (RPPs). Further, vast development benefits can be achieved with a good governance of migration, as migrants’ households are able to increase the well-being of European societies through the acquisition of new skills and work experience. A wide range of measures should be adopted in order to promote brain circulation throughout EU Member States.
These four pillars of the new GAMM policy should not be restricted geographically, as the principle of differentiation should lead to a closer cooperation with non-EU countries and to the support of a large number of regional dialogues and cooperation processes. The EU Neighbourhood, the Southern Mediterranean and the Eastern Partnership, on one hand, and the EU-Africa Strategic Partnership, the Prague process, the Rabat process (for Western Africa), on the other hand, as well as the EU-ACP (Africa Caribbean and Pacific) dialogue and the EU-LAC (Latin America and Caribbean Region) dialogue, as well as the development of dialogue groups with Asian countries are the main paths through which the EU and its Member States are trying to develop, elaborate and promote this new migration policy of the Union.
In order to ensure transparency and improve implementation, the results of the GAMM should be presented in a progress report through a dedicated website. EU is affected by a multitude of challenges and opportunities in the area of migration and mobility. Therefore, it should cease the opportunity to benefit from this situation and become more prosperous and competitive by attracting new talents and profitable investments.
Christos Floridis is the head of European Affairs department of Andreas Neocleous & Co LLC and specialises in regional State aids, management of structural funds, preparation and monitoring of EU operational programs and transposition of EU directives into national law.
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