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Document 52011DC0292


/* COM/2011/0292 final */



A dialogue for migration, mobility and security with the Southern Mediterranean countries


The historic events that have occurred in the Southern Mediterranean since the end of 2010 have provided unique opportunities for the people of those countries to express more freely their wish for true democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, more impartial and better functioning state institutions and a fairer use of public resources. They have also inspired citizens elsewhere in the Arab world and around the globe, and strengthened their resolve to succeed in their democratic aspirations.

The EU stands ready to continue supporting all its Southern neighbours who are willing to commit to democracy, human rights, good governance and rule of law, and to enter into Partnerships with those countries to achieve concrete progress for the people.

Those historic events have also induced significant movements of people.

The eruption of the conflict in Libya as of mid-February, provoked the displacement of around 800,000 persons of many different nationalities towards the neighbouring countries, in particular Tunisia and Egypt. A number of them have fled towards Italy and Malta across the Mediterranean sea on vessels of fortune, sometimes losing their lives at sea as a result. As of mid-January some 35,000 migrants from Tunisia and Libya have arrived at the shores of the Italian island of Lampedusa and Malta.

Some of the major factors behind the migratory pressures in the Southern Mediterranean, such as the high levels of unemployment among a very young population, are not new. They represent a long-term structural challenge for both the EU and the region

The EU needs to give clear support to the people in the Southern Mediterranean, many of whom may be tempted – in the absence of a perspective for better life at home – to seek opportunities outside their countries of origin. Active management of migration flows, the strengthening of legal migration opportunities together with measures to address irregular migration have a positive impact on both the EU and its partner countries.

As part of the EU’s wider engagement and offer of a “Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity” and in the context of an enhanced European Neighbourhood Policy vis-à-vis the EU’s southern neighbours and their new democratic aspirations, this Communication proposes to address the current challenges in the area of migration and mobility through the establishment of a d ialogue for migration, mobility and security between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean countries, in line with the aims of the EU’s Global Approach to Migration .

This Communication builds upon the proposals for a partnership between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean countries in the area of migration, mobility and security made by the Commission in its Communication on migration adopted on 4 May 2011. It is adopted in parallel with the Communication on the review of the EU Neighbourhood Policy.


The European Union has responded to these challenges in a rapid and effective manner, taking in particular the following concrete actions:

- To manage the humanitarian emergency generated by the sudden inflows of migrants and refugees in the countries neighbouring Libya, the Commission has allocated 40 M EUR, out of a total EU contribution – Commission and Member States combined – of 102 € M EUR to evacuate and repatriate third-country nationals and to assist those in need in Libya and neighbouring countries. This has also been made possible thanks to the laudable work carried out by the IOM, UNHCR, ICRC and other international organisations. The intervention of the EU has been of key importance in reducing the pressure exerted on the reception capacities of Tunisia and Egypt by the huge inflows of displaced persons they have received.

- In order to promptly respond to the irregular and mixed migration flows across the central Mediterranean Sea, FRONTEX, with the assistance of several Member States, launched the Joint Operation EPN Hermes Extension 2011, aimed at assisting Italy in controlling vessels carrying migrants and refugees. EUROPOL also deployed a team of experts to Italy, with the aim of helping its law enforcement authorities to identify possible criminals among the persons intercepted.

- To ensure that, in the short term, those Member States most exposed to the growing flows of irregular migrants and refugees can cope with the financial consequences of the flows , the Commission has allocated an additional 25 M EUR for 2011 under the External Borders Fund and the European Refugee Fund, which are available on the basis of concrete requests by the Member States.

- In order to respond to the new call for and struggle towards democracy of the population of several Southern Mediterranean countries, the European Commission and the High Representative jointly presented on 8 March 2011 a Communication on " A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean ". This Communication, whose key recommendations were endorsed by the European Council in its meetings of 11 and 25 March 2011, proposes to offer to the Southern Mediterranean countries the perspective of developing with them a dialogue on migration, mobility and security, aimed at enhancing and facilitating the regular channels for migration and mobility of the citizens between these countries and the EU.


The EU response to the emergency situation has been swift, comprehensive and effective. On the other hand it has also become clear that the crisis situation will not be resolved quickly, and that it is necessary to create the conditions for implementing a more structured, sustainable plan which could cover the various dimensions of the phenomenon, based on solidarity between Member States and partnership with relevant third countries , in full respect of the EU's international obligations. Irregular migration flows originating from Tunisia might be followed by similar phenomena in other South Mediterranean countries, and especially in those going through political instability and social crisis. Organised crime-related smuggling networks may strentghen their activities and spread their geographical scope to other African countries than Tunisia.

As the conflict in Libya continues, many more persons are expected to flee in the future, and, increasingly, nationals of various other third countries, notably Sub-Saharan African countries who used to live in Libya as migrants or refugees. It is also possible that Libya could again become a key transit country for the smuggling of irregular migrants directed from Africa to Europe.

While in the initial phase of the crisis a large majority of the persons fleeing the conflict in Libya were repatriated to their countries of origin in a timely manner, in the course of the crisis persons not having a country to which they may be safely repatriated have increasingly been travelling from Libya to the neighbouring countries. The latter are either Libyans or third country nationals that used to reside in Libya and that had left their origin country in search of international protection. These persons, unless resettled, may be destined to remain for an extended period in the hosting countries. This situation is placing the already diminished reception capacities of countries like Tunisia and Egypt under additional strain, and contributing to an increase in migratory and refugee flows towards the EU Member States.

In view of this situation, and on the basis of a joint initiative of the European Commission and the High Representative, the European Council has requested the Council, on the basis of the impetus to be provided by the Commission, to take further immediate action and to present in advance to the June European Council long-term measures for the development of capacities to manage migration and refugee flows in the Mediterranean.


As an immediate response to this request, the Commission has presented to the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 11-12 April a first plan of measures to address the migration and refugee flows originating from the South Mediterranean in the short and medium term , with a view (1) to ensuring that the EU and the countries neighbouring Libya acquire the capacity to deal with the possibly continued and increased inflows of refugees from that country, and (2) to assist those EU Member States and North African countries which are in the front line, and taking primary responsibility for dealing with the migration and refugee flows.

The plan includes the following actions:

1. continuing to provide funds for the humanitarian assistance o f those in need in Libya and its neighboring countries and for repatriation of the persons fleeing from the conflict in Libya, according to the identified needs;

2. strengthening with additional technical resources made available by Member States for the Joint Operation EPN HERMES Extension coordinated by FRONTEX, while continuing both the HERMES and the POSEIDON joint operation as long as necessary, on the basis of an increase of the budget available to FRONTEX for the Surveillance Patrolling network;

3. rapidly strengthening the competences of FRONTEX and putting more effective tools at its disposal. The amended Regulation establishing the FRONTEX agency should be adopted by the Council and the European Parliament as a matter of urgency;

4. calling on FRONTEX to speed up the negotiations to conclude working arrangements with the competent authorities of Egypt, Morocco and Turkey, for which it already has a mandate, and for it to be given a mandate as a matter of urgency to start negotiations for a similar working arrangement with Tunisia;

5. launching a special joint EU-Tunisia operational project as part of a wider set of measures to address the overall situation of irregular migration in the Mediterranean region. This project is aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Tunisian authorities to control their borders, to fight against the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings, to facilitate the return and social and professional reintegration of returnees, to support access to legal migration channels and to treat migrants entering their territory in accordance with international standards, including by offering asylum to those in need of international protection. In parallel to this project, to also assist the local authorities of the EU Member States most concerned by this issue to address the immediate repercussions of the migratory flows originating from Tunisia on the local economy and infrastructure;

6. ensuring that Member States make full use of the financial resources allocated to them under the External Borders, the Return and the European Refugee Funds, including, if needed, by modifying the programmed destination of the funding and if necessary to focus on the most urgent priorities (for the 2010/2011 programmes,€ 425 million is available under these three Funds for the six Member States most concerned, i.e. Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain);

7. providing additional resources from these three Funds to support Member States facing emergency situations in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Regulation;

8. implementing a Regional Protection Programme (RPP) encompassing Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, aimed at enhancing the possibility to assist refugees stranded in these countries and to develop locally the legislation and the administrative capacity to treat them in line with international standards. Resettlement is also an important component of RPPs;

9. planning and implementing the resettlement of as many persons in need of international protection as possible from the territory of the countries neighbouring Libya towards the EU Member States and to other countries willing to accept them;

10. rapidly reaching an agreement on the adoption of the proposal for the establishment of an EU joint resettlement programme , with a view to facilitating resettlement operations.

As mentioned above, a big concern is caused by the possible increase of flows of persons potentially in need of international protection coming from Libya territory at the moment, and in the future possibly from other countries in the region. The Commission acknowledges the great efforts made by UNHCR, ICRC, IOM and other international organisations and the support given by the EU and its Member States in providing humanitarian assistance and other support to person displaced from Libya. In this context, it is important to ensure that an adequate level of funds remains available to support the provision of humanitarian assistance, according to the identified needs .

The financial support should also address the immediate repercussions of migratory and refugees flows on the local economic and social situation , as well as on the local infrastructures, of certain peripheral regions of EU Member States, such as has been the case in the course of the last years, for instance, for some of the Canary islands, the Sicilian islands, Malta, Cyprus, and some of the Aegean islands of Greece. The Commission intends to examine how allocations under the EU structural funds could contribute to deal with these situations.

The support to the most exposed Member States should go beyond financial assistance and make it possible to share the actual responsibility for management of the migrants and refugees. The Commission has already proposed a number of measures, including in the context of the Ministerial Conference on relocation and resetllement which took place in Brussels on 12 May 2011, that need to be considered carefully and urgently to achieve this goal. Amongst these measures, it is important to signal the possibility to deploy EASO support teams to the most concerned Member States, at their request, with a view to helping the authorities to screen the asylum seekers and offer initial aid. The current EASO budget would already enable the deployment of such teams to be financed. Member States should show their solidarity and make available asylum experts to join the EASO teams, as well as accepting the relocation to their territories of some of the beneficiaries of international protection. The Commission is ready to support these efforts through the European Refugee Fund, in the extension of the Malta Pilot Project started in 2009.

The proposed plan of measures is possible only if adequate EU financial resources are mobilised . The Commission will examine, on the basis of the available financial respources, how to ensure appropriate financing to address the scope of the challenges that the EU faces in this emergency situation. Moreover, the Commission will promote the adequate coordination among the different internal and external financial instruments to ensure in particular the support for the cooperation between Member States and third countries on concrete projects related to border management, migration and asylum.


The plan of measures proposed by the Commission (described above) was largely endorsed by the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 11-12 April. Such measures, which are essentially of a short-term nature, are now being implemented.

However the Commission believes that additional measures are required in the longer-term. These measures should first of all aim at addressing the root causes of migration at a structural level. Cooperation with the Southern Mediterranian countries should be enhanced to effectively address the challenge of creating jobs and improving living conditions throughout the region . Cooperation should particularly target the specific regions and categories of persons that are the most affected by the lack of employment opportunities (e.g. young people as a priority target).

In order to respond to these challenges, the European Commission and the High Representative have proposed in the joint Communication on 8 March 2011 to develop a long term partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean countries, based on a threefold approach, one of them being sustainable and inclusive growth and economic development with a strong emphasis on employment and social issues.

Longer term measures are also required to ensure that migration and mobility between the EU and the South Mediterranean countries are channelled through regular processes and take place in an orderly and efficient manner . This would imply efforts to help job seekers from these countries finding work opportunities abroad, in the shared interest of the countries and people concerned, as well as of the EU and its Member States. This latter challenge should be seen in the broader context of the evolution of the EU's demographic situation, as well as the labour shortages it is confronted with. The EU's needs for targeted labour migration will have to be duly monitored and reviewed so as to make precise evidence based proposals on the basis of real labour demands. In this context the substantial contribution of immigrants, of all origins combined, to the EU economies must be acknowledged. They help to meet the need for highly skilled workers in the expanding sectors of the EU's economy but also help to fill many jobs requiring a mix of lower skills.

In the joint Communication on 8 March 2011, the European Commission and the High Representative have also proposed to develop a partnership on migration, mobility and security with the Southern Mediterranean countries.

The Commission believes that the launching of Mobility Partnerships with the Southern Mediterranean countries is a crucial tool, beneficial for both sides to ensure better and more effectively managed migration and mobility, not only of the citizens of the partner countries but also of the nationals of other countries, in particular those of Sub-Saharan Africa and of the Middle East, who increasingly reside on or transit through the territory of the Southern Mediterranean countries. The launch of such partnerships would foster people-to-people contacts and further promote mutual understanding as well as business and employment. This would benefit the economic and social development of the entire Mediterranean region and the integration of migrants in the EU and in other countries of destination.

The proposed partnerships will be translated into reality by adopting a tailor-made, country-by-country approach , and on the basis of a commitment by each country to meet certain conditions, and taking into account the overall relationship with the partner country concerned. Similarly, in line with the directions given by the European Council, it is important that the partnerships encompass, in parallel, all the different aspects of such cooperation, and that it should ensure that the progressive facilitation of the movement of persons goes hand in hand with the implementation of measures that would make such movement secure.


The overall aim of the Dialogue on migration, mobility and security will be to support and encourage reforms -aimed at improving security- that the partner countries may engage in, giving their citizens a possibility of enhanced mobility towards the EU Member States, whilst addressing the root causes of migratory flows. This Dialogue will be part of a much wider engagement with and assistance for the countries of North-Africa in the framework of the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy. This thematic and specific dialogue will be carried out as part of the broader frameworks for bilateral relations and dialogue, taking into account, at the regional level, the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and the Africa-EU Mobility, Migration and Employment Partnership.

In order to achieve this important goal, as requested by the European Council, the Commission intends to make full use of the existing tool available as part of the EU Global Approach to Migration , the Mobility Partnership , which has proved to be an effective tool for furthering dialogue and operational cooperation with third countries. Mobility Partnerships will be appropriately tailored to the specific situation, as well as to the needs, of the Southern Mediterranean countries in question.

The following principles will apply:

11. Differentiation : the Dialogue will be offered and developed based on the individual merit of the respective partner country (country-by-country approach), and take into account the extent to which progress is made and reflected in national practices and policy implementation.

12. Bilateralism : the Dialogue will be agreed between the EU and its Member States and each partner country separately.

13. Conditionality : the expected outcomes of the Dialogue would depend on the efforts and progress made in all areas (migration, mobility and security), and will take into account also progress made in governance-related areas.

14. Monitoring : the partners would agree to establish an efficient mechanism for monitoring the concrete implementation of the Partnership. EU and Member States' experts would be associated to such a mechanism.

This layered approach will enable the EU to extend the benefits of mobility proposed in the Partnership to those who demonstrate their willingness and capability to make progress especially in those areas that are of importance to the EU.

The Mobility Partnerships will be agreed at the political level between the EU and its Member States and the partner country concerned, and will encompass, as requested and agreed by both parties, all measures (be they legislative or practical), to ensure that the movement of persons between the EU and the partner country concerned is well-managed and takes place in a secure environment. This would thus bring together all relevant measures in a systematic and comprehensive manner.

These measures should contribute to enhancing the capacity for management of the migration and mobility of persons within the South Mediterranean countries and in its relations with the EU in all the areas of the EU Global Approach to Migration , which aims at (1) better organising legal migration , (2) maximising the positive impact of migration on development , and (3) effectively combating irregular migration . In addition to that, the Partnership would also include a set of measures aimed at ensuring (4) the promotion and respect of migrants' rights, both of nationals of the partner countries and of third-country nationals transiting through their territories.

In the field of asylum, the Mobility Partnership would aim at increasing possibilities for international protection in the partner country. Promotion of initiatives on integration in EU Member States that also benefit the countries of origin should be part of Mobility Partnerships. Successful integration in countries of destination creates better conditions both for contributing to development in countries of origin and for the successful re-integration of those who return to their countries of origin.

The Mobility Partnership should also include a package of capacity building measures to be implemented in the partner countries, to be identified on the basis of a tailor-made analysis of the South Mediterranean countries concerned, and of the proposals and requests made by the latter as well as by the EU and its Member States, which will fully and actively participate in its implementation. Capacity building measures in the area of migration, mobility and integration contributing to achieving these goals can be listed (in a non-exhaustive way) as follows:

- increasing and facilitating the access to legal migration channels for potential migrants on the basis of clearly identified labour demand needs in the EU and other destination countries;

- regular exchanges of expertise and best practice among Public Employment Services so as to help deliver successful active labour market policy programs in sending countries, thus raising the employability levels and prospects of third country nationals;

- building up the capacities of the partner country to assist in the efficient and effective organisation of legal migration, including recruitment, skills recognition, return and reintegration of migrants;

- supporting the delopment and implementation in the partner country of policies promoting inclusive growth with employment, employability and all aspects of decent work. This also with a view to mitigating brain drain;

- maximising the impact of migration on development, including through facilitating low-cost remittances and the channelling of these towards sustainable investments, reinforced work with diaspora associations and measures aimed at counteracting brain drain, while taking into account the social aspects of migration;

- enhancing the quality of civil status registers in the partner country, and of identity and travel documents which it issues;

- respecting the fundamental rights of any migrants, including those that are nationals of third countries;

- supporting effective integration in the receiving community and a non-discriminatory treatment of regular migrants;

- offering specific assistance to migrants belonging to vulnerable categories of persons such as unaccompanied minors, victims of trafficking and others,;

- providing advice in view of building up the capacity to respond to migrants in need of specific social, psychological or medical assistance, also in view of cooperating in the prevention of the dissemination of communicable diseases;

- ensuring the application of the principle of non refoulement and offering durable protection solutions to those in need of international protection;

- developing and implementing asylum legislation in the partner country, in line with international standards, including through cooperation with UNHCR;

- facilitating the social and professional reintegration of the nationals of the partner country returning to their country;

- providing assistance for the voluntary return of third country nationals apprehended as irregular migrants on the territory of the partner State.

The above mentioned capacity building measures would facilitate circulation of persons from the Southern Mediterranean countries towards the EU. Such enhanced circulation will be further ensured through the mobilisation of the following key tools:

- The EU will offer to partner countries the conclusion of a visa facilitation agreement . The contents of the agreement however would be different from one partner to the other. These will be agreed on a case by case basis , but would at least support the mobility of students, researchers and business people.

- Depending on the actual possibilities and needs of the EU Member States interested in actively participating in the Mobility Partnerships and of their respective labour markets, and taking into account their right to determine the volumes of economic migrants to be admitted, the Mobility Partnerships could also encompass specific schemes for facilitating labour migration between interested Member States and the Southern Mediterranean countries. Such schemes could enable (1) specific programmes and/or facilitated legal frameworks for circular migration (including also in the seasonal sector), (2) capacity building to manage remittances towards enhancing their development impact, (3) capacity building for efficient matching between labour supply and demand and for managing return and reintegration, (4) recognition of professional and academic skills and qualifications, (5) development and implementation of legal frameworks for a better portability of social rights, (6) enhanced access to information on the job vacancies available in the EU Member States' labour markets, (7) identification of measures designed to improve co-operation and co-ordination between South Mediterranean countries and EU Member States on matters related to skills and how to better match labour supply and demand, building upon the work already done by the European Training Foundation (ETF).Within the framework of a Mobility Partnership, interested Member States, in line with their legislation, may also decide to take other specific initiatives aimed at facilitating access to their labour markets for migrants from the partner country.

The increased mobility as outlined above will depend on the prior fulfilment of a certain number of conditions, aimed at contributing to the creation of a secure environment in which the circulation of the persons would take place through regular channels and in accordance with the agreed modalities. The specific conditions to be met by each country would vary, depending on an assessment regarding the fulfillment of the objectives agreed through the Dialogue with each partner country, as well as by the level of cooperation developed by the latter with the EU.

Specific measures to be implemented can be listed (in a non-exhaustive way) as follows:

- putting in place voluntary return arrangements;

- concluding readmission agreements with the EU, encompassing provisions related to the readmission of their own as well as third country nationals, while ensuring the full implementation of their existing readmission obligations;

- concluding a working arrangement with FRONTEX ;

- building capacity in the area of integrated border management , document security and the fight against organised crime, including trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants;

- cooperating in the joint surveillance in the Mediterranean sea, inclduing through possible cooperation in the framework of the EUROSUR project, once established;

- demonstrating a willingness to cooperate with the EU in the identification of its nationals and residents, in particular in the case of police and judicial cooperation, as well as for the purposes of readmission and extradition;

- ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime (TOC) and its protocols on trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants.

A Mobility Partnership is conceived as a long term framework based on political dialogue and operational cooperation , which will be developed further within the general context of the relations between the EU and the partner country concerned, and will evolve over time.

To prepare for the conclusion of the Mobility Partnership between the EU and the partner country concerned, a dialogue at senior officials' level between the EU and the countries concerned will be set up, with the full participation of Member States, which would allow both parties to exchange views, clarify expectations and needs and identify areas of cooperation. This would allow the preparation of political decisions to be jointly taken at the political level. Such a dialogue would serve both the purposes of preparing the launching of the Mobility Partnership and of monitoring its implementation.

During the preparatory phase, the Southern Mediterranean countries would be requested to make progress towards building capacity for the efficient management of migration and to contribute towards establishing a secure environment for mobility, as conditions for the fair and sustainable implementation of the Mobility Partnership. The EU will support, both technically and financially, the efforts made by the partner country, including through the EU Agencies (FRONTEX, EASO and EUROPOL).

The EU will also need reinforced financial resources to support the progress of the South Mediterranean countries willing to build up their capacities to manage migration, mobility and security, and to engage in long-term cooperation on this endeavour.

The EU and the partner countries in the Dialogue will have therefore to consider best solutions to ensure adequate financing, within the exisiting allocations, to actions aimed at supporting capacity building and cooperation in these areas. Similar considerations would apply to the new financial instrument supporting the cooperation with Southern Mediterranean countries under the next EU financial framework.

Alongside the development of the Mobility Partnership, the EU Member States should consider, on a case-by-case basis, improving their consular coverage in the region, including through the establishment of Common Visa Application Centres supported by the EU. Moreover, cooperation under Local Schengen Cooperation should be reinforced and full use should be made of practical improvements and flexibility provided by the EU Visa Code, including reducing or waiving visa fees and issuing of multiple entry visas to bona fide travellers and specific categories of people (such as students, researches, and business people).

In the long-term, provided that visa facilitation and readmission agreements are effectively implemented, gradual steps towards visa liberalisation for individual partner countries could be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the overall relationship with the partner country concerned and provided that conditions for well-managed and secure mobility are in place.

The Dialogue for migration, mobility and security will be launched progressively with the Southern Mediterranean Countries, including through the development of Mobility Partnerships , and taking into account (1) the overall relationship that the EU maintains with each partner country, (2) the current level of capacity in the partner country to manage migration flows, and (3) the willingness of the latter to engage in a constructive and effective dialogue aimed at establishing the Partnership. On this basis, the Commission proposes to start dialogues with Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt .


THE MEASURES PROPOSED IN THE PRESENT COMMUNICATION REPRESENT THE COMMISSION'S RESPONSE TO THE CALL MADE BY THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL AT ITS MEETING ON 24 MARCH 2011 TO PRESENT A " plan for the development of capacities to manage migration and refugee flows in the Mediterranean flows in advance of the June European Council ".

The proposals in this Communication come in addition to the initiatives proposed by the Commission on 4 May towards a more structured, comprehensive, rapid-response approach from the EU to the challenges and opportunities of migration, including strengthened border control and Schengen governance, completion of the Common European Asylum System, and a more targeted legal migration.

The Commission stands ready to further contribute to the elaboration of this Plan, and to its implementation, on the basis of the indications that the European Council will give at its forthcoming meeting on 24 June 2011.

The Commission is confident that the proposed set of measures will allow the EU to face up to its responsibilities. The Commission is also convinced that the EU must give a genuinely European response to those challenges. Such a response will be truly effective only if based on an expression of concrete solidarity between Member States and in partnership with the countries on the opposite shore of the Mediterranean, and if all the available means and instruments are mobilised.