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The EU’S Migration, Asylum and Mobility Policies in the Mediterranean

Title: The EU’S Migration, Asylum and Mobility Policies in the Mediterranean

This MEDRESET Policy Brief summarizes the findings of MEDRESET’s WP7 on migration, mobility and asylum in the Mediterranean and identifies policy implications.


Migration, asylum and mobility represent an increasingly contentious field of governance in Euro-Mediterranean relations. In the Mediterranean area, cooperation in this policy field has long been characterized by fundamental divergences of interests and approaches, not only between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, or between (predominantly) sending, transit and receiving countries, but also among institutional and civil society actors on both sides of the Mediterranean.

MEDRESET Work Package 7 (WP7) was aimed: firstly, at developing a deeper knowledge of the diverse perceptions and priorities of different stakeholders with regard to migration; secondly, at evaluating the EU’s policies and role in the field of migration, mobility and asylum in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEM) region from the viewpoint of grassroots actors, at both the local and the EU level; and thirdly, at formulating a set of policy recommendations that reflect the perspective of civil societystakeholders, especially from SEM countries, with the purpose of innovating the governance of migration in the Mediterranean.

By adopting a non-Eurocentric approach, and based on extensive empirical research, WP7 found that the EU’s discourse in the migration policy field is informed by two dominant frames – unilateralism and securitization – which translate into largely Eurocentric, securitizing and conditionality-based policies and practices. Moreover, WP7 found that, despite the existence of country-specific issues and different migration policy agendas in the Maghreb and the Middle East, SEM stakeholders in the four target countries (Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey) share a common perception of EU migration policies as abusively and inappropriately restrictive and ineffective, elaborated in a unilateral way and imposed through unbalanced power relations.

With a high level of consensus among themselves, they recommend that the EU radically change its approach to Euro-Mediterranean relations and to migration governance in particular, in order to make it less Eurocentric and security-oriented, and more inclusive, balanced and responsive.

This policy brief describes, firstly, how stakeholders perceive the Mediterranean space and EU practices in it, and, secondly, which alternative policies they recommend.


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