By / October 1, 2013

The EU’s dialogue on migration, mobility and security within the Eastern Partnership

The Eastern Partnership (EaP), just as the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), whose Eastern dimension it represents, is in general not…

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The Eastern Partnership (EaP), just as the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), whose Eastern dimension it represents, is in general not a pre-accession policy. EaP is not an initiative related to EU enlargement, but has more to do with EU security. The EU has security concerns which manifest themselves in the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) dimension of the EaP. In general, however, when cooperating in the field of JHA, the EU does not have strong leverage over the EaP countries. While the external dimension of JHA is a high priority for the EU, neither “sticks” nor “carrots” offered to the EaP countries in this field seem to have enough substance to bring about rapid advancement of the progressive dialogue. Nevertheless, the JHA dimension of EaP is comprised of a number of sub-dimensions where the interests of both the EU and its Eastern partners could possibly meet. One of these intersection points may be the migration / mobility aspect of JHA, which is directly linked to EU security as well as the development, and prosperity of the EaP countries. In the migration / mobility dialogue within the Eastern Partnership the open borders of the EU can be seen as “carrots” in the EU’s hands to be offered to the six former Soviet republics.

With the Lithuanian presidency seeking to enhance cooperation on JHA in the EaP framework, it remains to be seen what level of convergence of the partner countries (Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia) with the EU can be achieved.

Along with an overview of current migration policies with regard to the EaP countries, this Library Keysource draws together lessons from the past and reflections on the future of cooperation between the EU and its eastern partners in JHA and specifically in the migration / mobility area.


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Justice and home affairs and the EU’s eastern partners / Piotr Bąkowski; European Parliament Library; Library Briefing, 2012.
This briefing covers the external dimension of the Justice and Home affairs under the ENP and EaP frameworks. A special part is dedicated to the migration, mobility and visa dialogue. It also analyses the “asymmetry of interests” between the EU and its eastern partners. Focusing on JHA, the briefing offers an insight into the positions of the parties concerned: Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, the South Caucasus region as a whole and separately Georgia as well.

Bringing EU migration cooperation to the Eastern Neighbourhood: convergence beyond the acquis communautaire? / Raul Hernandez I Sagrera, Oleg Korneev; Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies; 2012.
A paper on EU migration cooperation with the Eastern Partnership counties, focusing in particular on readmission, visas, border management and labour migration. The policy tools analysed are the readmission agreements, visa facilitation agreements, FRONTEX working arrangements and Mobility Partnerships.

Panorama of EU regional programmes and projects Eastern Partnership and Russia 2012-2014 / European Commission; DG Development and Cooperation-EuropeAid, 2013.
As the title itself suggests, this paper is an overview of all the projects and programmes implemented or in the phase of implementation between the EU and its Eastern Partners, including the EU’s policy relations with Russia. Under the section of “Democracy, good governance and stability”, six chapters are dedicated to the EU’s ‘migration and border management’ initiatives with regard to its eastern neighbours.

General Analysis

The role of third countries in EU migration policy: the Mobility Partnerships / Natasja Reslow. European Journal of Migration & Law, 2012, Vol. 14, Issue 4, p393-415.
The author looks at both Eastern European and African case studies, explaining the rationale behind EU’s Eastern neighbours partaking in EU migration policy initiatives.

Securitizing or developing the European Neighbourhood? Migration management in Moldova / Nora Ratzmann; Southeast European and Black Sea Studies; June 2012; Vol.12; Issue 2.
Ratzman questions the EU rationale behind its policies towards its eastern partners. The author offers her interpretation of the interests driving the ENP with regard to migration. The EU-Moldova relationship serves as a case study, specifically with the issue of the cross-border movement of people in focus.

Successes and Failures

Time to de-link visas and migration control: what can we learn from the EU’s success in the past? / Piotr Kazmierkiewicz; Policy Association for an Open Society; Policy Brief no2; 2013.
This policy brief assesses the EU migration policies towards Eastern European countries. Referring to the EU’s past experiences, Piotr Kazmierkiewicz points to two main approaches that the EU can adopt: one of treating visa liberalisation as a “carrot” to be offered to the Eastern partners and the other one of resuming the already-experienced alternative. This policy brief suggests that neither the re-establishment of visas for Western Balkan states nor the freezing of negotiations on the visa liberalisation regime with the Eastern Partnership would be a correct response to the EU’s security problems.

Policy impact of the Eastern Partnership on Ukraine: trade, energy, and visa dialogue / Alexander Duleba, Vladimir Benc, Vladimir Bilcik; Research Center of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association; 2012. 93p.
This book covers state reforms in Ukraine since 2009 and the added value of the Eastern Partnership in it. One chapter is dedicated to the EU-Ukraine visa dialogue in which the authors communicate their pessimistic views on further progress with Ukraine.

After reviewing the original standpoints, anticipations and definite advancements in the visa liberalisation dialogue, the chapter concludes with a cautionary note for the EU about the current political circumstances in Ukraine.

Transnistrian conflict and Republic of Moldova European integration: the case of the liberalized visa regime / Cornel Ciurea, Eduard Tugui; Institute for Development and Social Initiatives; 2013.
This work focuses on the existing uncertainty in Moldova on the visa dialogue with the European Union

The Republic of Moldova in the Eastern Partnership: From “Poster Child” to “Problem Child”? / David Rinnert; Friedrich Ebert Stiftung; August 2013.
This working paper looks at Moldova both as a success story of the Eastern Partnership and as a problematic country immersed in political crisis. On the one hand, Moldova is shown as an example of the EU’s successes and failures in the Eastern Partnership but on the other hand the author emphasises the importance of local political events.

Country Reports

Eastern Partnership Visa Liberalisation Index / Stefan Batory Foundation, 2013
This report looks at the progress made by all the Eastern Partnership states in the fulfillment of the criteria for visa liberalisation.

Costs and Benefits of Labour Mobility between the EU and the Eastern Partnership Partner Countries. Country report: Azerbaijan / Azer Allahveranov, Emin Huseynov; CASE, 2013.
This report is one of the six studies carried out under the EU project on the “costs and benefits of labour mobility between the EU and the Eastern Partnership partner countries”. It offers an in-depth analysis of the Azerbaijani situation over the last ten years with regards to the migration flows and their consequences categorised into costs and benefits. This country profile covers present trends in migration and forecasts  future trends.

Costs and Benefits of Labour Mobility between the EU and the Eastern Partnership Partner Countries. Country report: Moldova / Georgeta Mincu; Vasile Cantarji; Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE), 2013.
This report offers a systematic overview of the migration policies of the European Union directed to Moldova. Its migration profile shows that Moldova is a migration-dependent country. On the whole, this study communicates that migration has been good to Moldova.

Costs and Benefits of Labour Mobility between the EU and the Eastern Partnership Partner Countries. Country report: Georgia / Lasha Labadze, Mirian Tukhashvili; Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE), 2013.
In this study the costs and benefits of emigration for Georgia are analysed with emigration to the EU in focus. The conclusive chapter discusses at length the possible outcomes of visa liberalisation in Eastern Partnership countries focusing on Georgia. The authors consider that Georgia’s unique “geopolitical position, its role as a key trade and transportation hub, the superior quality of its bureaucracy, lack of corruption etc.” create a migration context that needs to be treated with a special attention by the EU.

Costs and Benefits of Labour Mobility between the EU and the Eastern Partnership Partner Countries. Country report: Armenia / Gagik Makaryan; Mihran Galstyan; Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE), 2013.
This study investigates and evaluates the costs and benefits of labour migration in Armenia. The potential of migration to contribute to the Armenian development. This report is factual as well as analytical as it offers readers an understanding of migration as a strategy towards country development. Authors give their support to the programmes involving the active cooperation of Armenian governmental institutions and the Armenian Diaspora.

Stakeholders Views

Eastern Partnership and its Strategic Importance to the European Union / Laurynas Kasčiūnas, Eastern Europe Studies Centre, 2013.
A speech delivered at the Lithuanian Parliament in which Laurynas Kasciunas notes how difficult it has become for the Eastern Partnership countries to manoeuvre between the EU and Russia, conveying the importance of Russia as a stakeholder.  The speech puts in a nutshell the dilemma that the six former soviet republics are facing:  Eurasian Union vs. European Union.

Putin’s grand design to destroy the EU’s Eastern Partnership: replace it with a disastrous neighbourhood policy of his own / Michael Emerson, Hrant Kostanyan; CEPS, September 2013.
This commentary introduces Russia as an influential stakeholder wishing to destroy the Eastern Partnership. The authors suggest that the exclusive customs union is not the only way to enjoy deep integration for goods, services, people and capital, and of course even less for hard security relationships. They recommend the states wishing to have excellent relations with more than one big neighbour to opt for high-quality free trade agreements.

Joint Statement on Eastern Partnership by the Foreign Ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Germany / Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Republis of Latvia, 21 June 2013
The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Germany stressed the strategic importance of the Eastern partnership and voiced their determination to go further with the collaboration. In the statement, the ministers discuss the Visa Liberalisation Action Plans, Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements and confirm the EU’s commitment to the visa liberalisation with the Eastern Partnership on condition that the secure mobility (as set out in the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan) is guaranteed.

Future Prospects

What influence does the European Union have in its Eastern Neighbourhood? Assessment and Prospects for the Eastern Partnership /  Laure Delcour; Etudes européennes, 2012.
This working paper provides readers with a systematic and thorough overview of the relationship between the EU and the six former Soviet republics (Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) since the inauguration of the Eastern Partnership. The paper analyses the EaP initiatives, its consequences and contributions. Delcour not only assesses the early agenda of the Eastern Partnership and its current developments, but also offers a reflection on its potential, thus combining the past, the present and the future of the Eastern Partnership in one work.

Making the impossible possible. The prospects for visa-free movement between the EU and its eastern partners / Marta Jaroszewicz; OSW; 2012.
This work analyses the potential for positive developments in relations between the EU and its Eastern partners. Jaroszewicz sees visa-free movement as an impetus for the six former Soviet republics to become more interested in further cooperation under the EaP framework, and argues that given adequate security conditions, visa liberalisation could end up being beneficial for both sides.

Migration from the Eastern Partnership countries to the European Union: options for a better future / Luca Barbone, Martin Kahanec, Lucia Kurekova, Klaus F. Zimmermann; IZA Research Report N55, August 2013.
Based on an assessment of the costs and benefits of EU-EaP Mobility from both EU and EaP perspectives, this research paper offers mutually beneficial scenarios for future migration.

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