The increased arrival of refugees and migrants in Italy in 2015 revealed that the EU was not prepared to cope with an increased inﬂow of refugees and migrants into its territory. In 2015, the year that saw an unprecedented number of irregular migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean, a comprehensive approach to migration was adopted in the Valletta Action Plan, acknowledging that the management of irregular migration is a responsibility for both African and EU leaders.
This report holds that, three years after Valletta, serious challenges remain in implementing the building blocks of the EU’s migration approach. Whereas political positions among Member States are converging towards a mode of securitising borders, authors Willemijn Tiekstra and Wouter Zweers argue in their report that a more sustainable and comprehensive approach is needed, taking into account the interests and stability of countries of origin and transit. Based on field research in Senegal, Italy,and Poland, as well as complementary desk research, it seeks to identify best practices from national experiences and bilateral agreements that are feasible within the current European political landscape. Delivering on promised commitments is crucial for all actors involved to make the system work.
A failure to implement the comprehensive approach to migration directly affects the EU’s external credibility, endangering the EU’s negotiating position with third countries. Similarly, a failure to resolve deadlock on the internal dimension negatively affects popular support for the EU, putting at risk the European project as a whole.