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How the EU could deliver on the Pact’s Predicaments through more Balanced External Cooperation

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The Pact will likely increase the transfer of responsibilities to non-EU countries, particularly in North Africa and the Western Balkans. Significantly, though, the reform leaves essentially unsolved the shortcomings that make the EU asylum system less resilient to shocks. In addition, it does little to increase the chances that non-EU countries will accept more returns with better conditions for the migrants. To deliver on the Pact’s own predicaments and simultaneously strengthen its external action, the EU should move beyond a purely transactional approach vis-à-vis partner countries and fully embrace the fact that cooperation on mobility issues is not a mere means to prevent spontaneous arrivals but an area of strategic importance for the EU.


Impact of the Pact on the external dimension of migration policy

The Pact on Migration and Asylum will have a major impact on what happens at the EU’s external borders. Although its provisions are ‘internal’ in the sense that they are decided upon and adopted autonomously by the EU, the entire reform will have significant implications for returns and readmissions as well as migration towards the EU. At the same time, its implementation will be premised—at least in part—on the cooperation of non-EU countries.

For these reasons, reflecting strategically on the external dimension of EU migration policies is not only important but also instrumental to achieving a more effective and fairer EU migration and asylum system.

When it comes to the Pact, the expansion of the use of accelerated border procedures and the definition of ‘safe third country’ are two aspects that are likely to be particularly consequential for the EU’s relations with its partners.


The rest of this article can be found on the Istituto Luigi Sturzo website.


(Photo credit: Javier Allegue Barro, Unsplash)