Declaration of the Mediterranean Group

Migration flows in the mediterranean: recent evolution and actions to take in the framework of the european union

The tragic events that have recently taken place in the Mediterranean have, once again, put a spotlight on how irregular immigration is fraught with human drama.

Migration pressure in the Mediterranean, far from diminishing, is increasing due to the situation of instability and poverty in the countries of origin.

This situation demands major efforts from EU’s Mediterranean Member States; efforts that are carried out for the benefit of the entire European Union. As Mediterranean Member States we bear the brunt of controlling a part of the external border of the EU. It should be noted that a large number of migrants arriving at our borders aims to continue onward to other parts of the EU.

We appreciate the involvement of the European Commission, in tackling the emergency at the EU level, and we plead for an increasing participation of all Member States, in a decisive manner, in efforts to foster a comprehensive approach to migratory issues.

This forum supports the work carried out by the Task Force for the Mediterranean, which has identified a set of specific measures whose effective implementation should be accelerated.

All these challenges can only be addressed comprehensively, through the adoption of both short- and long-term measures, in the European Union but also in third countries, where the EU and the International Community should mobilize resources for the management of migration flows.

· Intra-EU solidarity with Southern Member States affected by the massive and disorderly arrival of migration flows, despite their substancial efforts to control their external borders, should include sufficient and effective financial support from the EU. Solidarity should also be expressed with Southern Member States confronted with complex border control and/or SAR operations.

· Control of the EU’s external borders—both land and sea—should be maintained and reinforced, through Frontex that should concentrate its activities on its core mission of operational activities, including the Joint Operations with an increased participation of Member States.

· Capacity-building in countries of origin and transit in the Mediterranean and sub-Saharan Region should be carried out to reinforce their border control capacities, in view of encouraging an effective prevention of irregular migration at the source.

· The fight against criminal networks and trafficking in human beings, which constitute intolerable forms of exploitation, should remain a priority, through the development of operational cooperation with third countries.

· Resolute actions regarding all form of returns and readmissions are necessary, so that those who are in an irregular situation in the EU can return to their countries of origin swiftly, in the full respect of their fundamental rights and on the basis of international and EU standards.

· International organisations, operating in third countries of transit, such as the International Organization for Migration, have a key role in the field of assisted voluntary return through the implementation of specific programmes, which, together with other programmes that could be developed in the future, should be supported institutionally and financially also with a view to helping Third countries of transit to return irregular migrants to their countries of origin.

· The conclusion of readmission agreements with countries of origin and transit, to improve the current practices of EU Member States, should be promoted. In this context the implementation of article 13 of the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement is of great importance. The Commission must make the necessary efforts to ensure that African States fulfil their commitments on readmission.

· At the same time, cooperation between countries of destination and of origin should be reinforced, including on the use of existing legal migration channels, taking into account the common interest of both partner countries and the importanceto avoid the loss of human capital. An example could be “circular migration”.

· EU migratory policy should be embedded and fully integrated into its external action so that the objectives and priorities of migratory policies can be taken into account when designing and implementing its external policy. To this end, it is essential to improve the coordination mechanisms among Member States, the EEAS, and the European Commission. Available EU instruments should be used as effectively as possible to promote cooperation with third countries within the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM).

· The Mobility Partnerships already signed with Morocco and Tunisia should be provided with necessary EU funding, and we look forward to the signature of more Partnerships with Third countries in the Mediterranean area. Likewise, actions shall continue to be coordinated within the regional dialogues and processes, such as the Rabat Process as well as within the EU-África Joint Strategy, promoting migratory cooperation and regional dialogue. A regional dialogue on migratory issues should be launched with the countries of Eastern Africa.

· Necessary efforts in the fields of migration and development should continue to adequately address the underlying causes of migration associated with poverty, political instability and conflict, as well as the lack of respect for human rights, creating alternatives in the countries of origin and transit. The commitment of relevant EU institutions in development cooperation is necessary to build on what has already been done by Member States in recent years.

· All of this should take the form of EU cooperation supported by different programmes and funding instruments thatsimultaneously addresses migratory pressure and promote the economic and social development of countries of origin and transit.

· Lastly, this forum stresses the importance of all these issues being addressed when strategic guidelines for further legislative and operational planning in the area of freedom, security and justice will be defined by the European Council in June 2014.




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