Migration control, euro-mediterranean relations, eu policy
During the first five months of 2015 approximately 1,850 people died across the Mediterranean whilst attempting to reach the European Union (EU). In response to this, in April 2015 the Commission presented a 10-point action plan, on the basis of which the Council agreed to strengthen the EU’s ‘presence at sea, to fight traffickers, to prevent illegal migration flows and to reinforce internal solidarity and responsibility’. As a result of this agreement, on 13 May 2015 the Commission presented a highly controversial European Agenda on Migration (hereinafter ‘European Agenda’), which included both internal and external policy measures. One of the cardinal objectives of the European Agenda is to ‘address the root causes of migration’, and to fulfil this objective the EU aims at ‘mainstream[ing] migration issues into development cooperation’. However, since the adoption of the European Agenda, and arguably because of it, EU member states have not lived up to their obligations to extend international protection to those who need it. Similarly, as detailed in this article, they have pushed for policies aimed at externalising the management of migration, including through dubious bilateral agreements which foresee the use of aid funding in return for cooperation on migration control. In so doing, they have failed to move towards a more coherent, humane and legally acceptable response to the arrival of people on European shores.