Migration has turned into a huge issue for the European Union and its Member States in the past decade and became a crucial consideration in EU foreign and security policy. During the last 25 years, the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) was a major actor of EU migration cooperation, delivering assistance and implementing projects in the field to improve partners’ migration systems. Therefore, to better assess the current migration situation around the European Union, EU-Logos has interviewed Mr. Ralph Genetzke, Head of ICMPD Representation in Brussels.
Thanks to dialogue, relations between the EU and third countries have changed and it has allowed countries to start with an initial issue and to address other important problems over the years. The goal of dialogue is to consolidate a country in facing issues, including on topic of migration.
Nowadays, the European Union has already built some structured cooperation frameworks on the subject of migration with several regions of the world , such as the Balkans or Western Africa.
In the interview, focus is put on three geographical areas:
- The Balkan and the Turkish route, where States built effective systems to deal the mobility of their own nationals, but are overwhelmed by the current migration crisis
- Mobility Partnerships in Africa, which underline the importance of incorporation the dialogue about migration into a broader foreign policy
- The Rabat and Khartoum Processes, which mainly focus on the importance of an inclusive dialogue between partner countries.
The European Union and third countries involved in these kind of cooperation face unprecedented migration flows. Indeed, up from 274 000 in 2014, over a million irregular migrants and refugees came to Europe during the year 2015. 885 000 of which came by the Balkan Route, and 185 000 by the West Mediterranean Route. This compares to 2016, where 710 400 people asked for asylum in Europe. Migration flows are complex because situations are different from one another: people move for various reasons and from various areas. This ongoing migration crisis and responses given to this phenomenon fall within the scope of the European Union competences. The operationalisation of the “dialogues” is needed.
This introduction is the first of the three parts of our article. The next part will dwell on migration on the Balkan and the Turkish route, and the last part will be dedicated to Africa.
The International Center for Migration Policy Development helps us understand the progresses and the limits to which the EU and its partners were confronted to in front of the importance of migration flows. It is valid not only for neighbours but also for the EU. ICMPD is an organisation composed with Members States, but is not affiliated to the European Union despite their cooperation. At the moment, 15 countries are part of it, and Malta and Turkey are in the process of joining in. Its action usually focuses on the regions surrounding the EU, such as the Balkans, the Mediterranean countries, or the sub-Saharan countries.
ICMPD focuses on three main areas at three different levels (Intergovernmental European, and regional).
This centre is a major EU operator and a key actor directly involved in the current crisis. ICMPD’s work underlines that these issues are really hard to solve because situations can be completely different from one another. Therefore, processes have to begin with a strong dialogue, but it is also important to have a long term vision and commitment about a better understanding of the conditions that produce the migration flows.
ICMPD has played secretariat functions for the inter-state and regional migration dialogues promoted by the EU: the Prague Process with Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Budapest Process on the Silk Road route, and the Rabat and Khartoum Processes in West and East Africa (see part II).
With the assistance of P. Borgoltz