Ongoing and concluded PhDs

PhD researcher or student information

Degrees BA: Law


International Relations/ Development studies

Law and European Studies

PhD Research Information

The Legal and Policy Relevance of EU Mobility Partnerships: A comparative study of Morocco and Cape Verde

Brief description:

The aim of my research is to assess whether Mobility Partnerships can have legal or policy relevance for third countries, even though they are soft law instruments, and if so, to understand what factors can be favorable or detrimental to their potential legal and policy relevance.

In my thesis I discuss two hypotheses:
The first one is that the soft law nature of Mobility Partnerships does not preclude the existence of legal and policy relevance for third countries.

The second hypothesis is that three main factors are conditioning the way Mobility Partnerships are being relevant. These three factors are: the state of relations between EU Member States and a third country (mainly: to what extent postcolonial ties play a role here), the power of negotiation of a third country (which is linked to its geopolitical importance for the EU) and its administrative capacity (which is understood here as the capacity of a state to define and implement policies and to legislate and enforce the law).

The first key finding of this thesis is that Mobility Partnerships are soft law instruments with potential legal and policy relevance for third countries. Both Morocco and Cape Verde have developed national strategies for immigration and asylum and more precisely for the integration of immigrants (and refugees). These strategies all led to the opening of exceptional periods of regularization for migrants as well as to improvements in the access to the labour market and to labour rights for regular migrants in addition to other socio-economic rights.

The second main finding is that Mobility Partnerships have a “differentiated relevance”. This means that in some cases legal and policy changes can be imposed by the EU and in other cases, the EU can support these changes according to the interests of the third country. In the cases of Cape Verde and Morocco, the EU and the Member States play a very different role in the legal and policy developments because the three factors are combined in different ways.


First, I conducted a comparative analysis of the legal and policy frameworks in Morocco and Cape Verde and looked at potential developments since the conclusion of their respective Mobility Partnerships, giving a before and after picture of the frameworks. I presented the legal and policy frameworks not only from their purely administrative perspective but also from the perspective of the rights they can confer to migrants staying in the third country. Then, I carried out an empirical study of the implementation of the Mobility Partnerships with Morocco and Cape Verde, to see what projects have been implemented so far and which ones could potentially have legal and policy relevance. Finally, I “connected the dots” and analyzed to what extent is the implementation of Mobility Partnerships’ projects linked to the legal and policy developments occurring in Cape Verde and Morocco, linking particular projects to specific legal and policy developments. In order to have a full picture of the interests at stake, I conducted 69 interviews in Morocco, Cape Verde, Portugal, France and Belgium, with different stakeholders. I chose to compare the cases of Morocco and Cape Verde because they allowed me to test the relevance of three criteria that I identified, as potentially influencing the way Mobility Partnerships can be relevant.

Keywords: West Africa, Partenariat de Mobilité, Politique Européenne Migratoire, Dimension Externe, North Africa, Morocco, Mobility Partnership, European Migration Policy, External Dimension, Migrant's Rights, European Union., Comparative Law, Cape Verde, African migration, Africa

Language(s) of writing: English

Country: Portugal

Home University:

University of Minho


Law school

Supervisor: Patricia Jeronimo
Start date: 04-12-2014
(Expected) date of completion 16-10-2018
PhD current status: PhD Defended
PhD research funded by: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN call and is part of the Marie Curie Actions — Initial Training Networks funding scheme
Name of grant:
Added to catalogue on: 18-10-2018

Additional information:

Co-supervisor: Professor Maarten Vink, University of Maastricht.