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Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation

Written by Marta Latek,

© gustavofrazao / Fotolia

The sudden substantial increase in the number of migrants in recent years has had a profound effect on the external relations dimension of European Union migration and asylum policy. The main components structuring EU external migration policy – the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM), European Agenda on Migration, and proposed migration compacts – explicitly underline the link between development and migration.

Grounded in the need to address the root causes of migration and to maximise its development impact, the development-migration nexus has evolved from the traditional treaty-based development policy approach, with its requirement of ensuring that all EU policies contribute to development objectives, to a more complex configuration. That, accordingly, many fear, may lead to the ‘instrumentalisation’ of development aid for migration management purposes. The European Parliament has taken a clear stand on this issue, calling, in a number of its recent resolutions, for the retention of poverty alleviation as the main goal of EU development policy, even when its instruments are used at the same time to tackle the root causes of migration.

Along with the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in this field, the European Parliament opposes aid conditionality dependent on partner countries cooperating on readmission and return, as laid out in the migration compacts. Addressing the current migration challenge without jeopardising development policy achievements and objectives is one of the key issues of the revised European consensus on development, from June 2017.

This is an updated edition of a briefing published in October 2016: PE 589.815.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation‘.


Visit the European Parliament page on ‘Migration in Europe‘.

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