Recent events in the Mediter-ranean, which have led to many migrants dying off the shores of European Union Member States, have placed EU migration policies back on the political agenda. A particular difficulty in dealing with this phenomenon comes from the mixed flows of migrants, made up of both irregular immigrants and asylum seekers.
The EU’s legal framework for irregular immigration is scattered over a multitude of legal instruments. Those which apply at the arrival of migrants focus on border surveillance, return of irregular immigrants and cooperation on readmission with third countries of origin and transit, as well as on preventing the departure for Europe of irregular immigrants.
Whilst many demand a more coherent EU policy on irregular immigration as well as EU-wide channels for legal migration, others defend a national approach, and point to the overburdening of national infrastructure by an influx of immigrants.
Member States with sea borders on the EU’s southern frontier, such as Italy, Spain and Malta, have experienced particular difficulties due to migrant influx in the last years. A different approach is that of Australia, which focuses on measures to deter migrants from arriving by sea.