The Global Approach to Migration and Mobility

Council of the European Union The Global Approach to Migration (hereinafter ‘GAM’), defined for the first time by the European Council in December 2005 and further developed in 2007 and 2008, has constituted the framework for the cooperation of the EU with third countries in the area of migration and asylum. The Stockholm Programme adopted in 2009 also acknowledged the importance of consolidating, strengthening and implementing the GAM.

The evaluation of GAM carried out in the first half of 2011 has confirmed the added value of this strategic framework. Moreover, the evaluation indicated a need for stronger policy coherence with other relevant EU policies and a better thematic and geographical balance. As a result of this evaluation, the Commission issued on 18th of November 2011 the Communication “The Global Approach to Migration and Mobility” as the basis for a renewed, more strategic and effective future application of GAM.

The Trio of Presidencies, which welcomes the Communication, attaches great importance of engaging into an in-depth analysis of the GAM, as the framework of ongoing and future EU cooperation with its partners in the area of migration and asylum. To that purpose, the Trio of Presidencies intends to facilitate a strategic discussion on the future application of the GAM in relevant Council bodies, in particular the High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG). The discussion will focus on existing and new dimensions, tools and mechanisms of the Commission’s communication with the view of adopting Council conclusions in the first term of 2012.

Taking into account the outcome of the first exchange of views on GAM, which took place at the meeting of the HLWG on 25 November 2011, the following issues in particular have been identified for further discussion:

1.    Complementarity between the renewed GAM and other relevant EU policies

The Communication underlines the importance of combining the different instruments available, also under other relevant EU policies and frameworks of cooperation with third countries, for larger harmonization and enhanced results. In order to more effectively fulfill the objectives of the EU, the GAM should be considered a part of EU’s overall foreign policy framework and well aligned with EU’s internal policy priorities.

2.    Geographical scope priorities

The dynamic migration situation into and outside the EU underlines the highest importance of cooperation with third countries. A comprehensive and balanced framework for dialogue and cooperation with third countries, especially with the EU neighbourhood countries, should remain a common priority. Further geographic extension and differentiation, as proposed in the Communication, should be considered.

3.    Thematic priorities

The Communication emphasizes the need for a comprehensive and balanced thematic approach for EU’s cooperation with third partners. In this context, the communication proposes that the GAM should be based on four pillars: promoting legal migration, preventing irregular migration, maximizing development impacts, and promoting international protection with the latter becoming a new autonomous pillar.

4.    Implementation mechanisms

A need for an increased flexibility and for better matching of existing tools of cooperation with third countries’ priorities calls for an individualized approach, based on a ‘more for more’ principle and incorporation of all aspects of cooperation that are in the interest of the EU and its partners. This cooperation on migration and mobility with non-EU countries will be pursued through tailor-made bilateral partnership frameworks.

5.    Monitoring

An effective monitoring mechanism is crucial for ensuring the coherence and complementarity of actions implemented by the EU and its Member States in the context of the Global Approach. In order to ensure transparency, the results of this framework should be presented systematically, as proposed in the Communication.

The results of ongoing and future discussions on the above-mentioned aspects, as well as on other elements proposed by the Communication, will constitute the basis for defining the EU strategy for its cooperation with third countries in the area of migration and asylum in the coming years.

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