Dialogue and cooperation among countries lies at the heart of the migration and development agenda. Migration cannot be addressed by one country alone, not even by a group of countries gathered in a regional framework it has to be discussed far wider than that – with all the countries concerned.
The EU Global Approach to Migration is the external dimension of EU migration policy. Since it was adopted in 2005, it has become a comprehensive framework for dialogue and operational cooperation with our partner countries. It aims to address ways to better organise legal migration, prevent and fight against irregular migration, and improve the positive synergies between migration and development. The rights of migrants are addressed across the range of these themes. The Global Approach to Migration is currently being reviewed, including through a broad, public consultation.
The EU has promoted cooperation and partnerships foremost with countries in the Southern Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa, e.g. through the Africa-EU partnership on migration, mobility and employment, and with countries in its Eastern and South-Eastern neighborhood. It recently launched a dialogue with Latin American and Caribbean countries, as well as with some Central Asian and Asian countries. Following the dramatic events in North Africa this year, the EU responded rapidly by reaching out to its neighbors, with plans to address migration, mobility and security issues in a comprehensive framework, and also through technical and financial support, mainly for Tunisia and Egypt, and by assistance to people in Libya and at its borders, in close cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The EU will further explore the potential to work closely with non-EU countries in the framework of Mobility Partnerships, so far in place with Moldova, Cape Verde, and Georgia. A number of new partnerships are suggested, including with countries in the Southern Mediterranean, as part of our EU Neighborhood Policy. Mobility partnerships are a crucial tool, beneficial for both parties to better and more effectively manage migration and mobility. They can increase the development gains from migration, foster people-to-people contacts and further promote mutual understanding as well as business and investments.
The EU is also increasingly supporting partner countries in labour migration to increase its development impact. Support includes the provision of pre-departure information to migrants about labour market openings, rights and obligations in the EU. Such information is provided through specific migrant information centers (e.g. in Mali, Western Balkans, South Caucasus and Asian countries) or will be made available soon at the EU Immigration Portal.
Within the framework of its development cooperation, the EU has increasingly sought to integrate migration issues into the Country and Regional Strategy Papers. Examples include support to governments, private sector and civil society in the preparation and implementation of actions to increase coherence between migration and development policies, to engage the resources of the diaspora in development by facilitating and encouraging remittances and other investments, or to minimise brain drain losses, particularly in the health sector.
Dialogue on migration and development at the global level is an important complement to bilateral and regional frameworks. The EU supports such dialogue as it can contribute to improved mutual understanding of the causes, patterns and impacts of migration.
The state-led process of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), has illustrated how open and frank dialogue between governments can prove advantageous for all involved parties. Exchange of information on policies, programmes and projects may contribute to identify and replicate good practice across the globe. It is also of value to involve expert international organisations, the civil society and the private sector in such exchange of information.
Nevertheless, development experts need to be brought in to a larger extent so that the contribution migration can make towards the Millennium Development Goals can be boosted.
Today’s informal debate is a useful point of reference for governments and other stakeholders in preparing for the 2013 UN General Assembly High Level Dialogue on migration and development. The EU recognizes the importance of that event, as well as the assessment of the GFMD process, for the future shape of the global debate on migration and development. The EU welcomes an evolving and focused dialogue at the global level that recognizes the key role of governments and the informal character of exchange. It should improve the sharing of good practice, the collective consolidation of a stronger evidence-base and facilitate constructive partnerships between countries and across regions.