EU: Tracking the Pact: Proposed cooperation with North Africa received with "interest"; external cooperation "state of play"

Two internal EU documents circulated in the Council: one containing the former Portuguese Presidency's assessment of North African states' responses to a proposed "enhanced political dialogue" on justice and home affairs issues; the other, the Commission's overview of "the main external migration dialogues and processes since 2019."


NOTE from: Presidency to: Delegations: Portuguese Presidency’s proposal for an EU-North Africa Enhanced Political dialogue on Justice and Home Affairs - Information from the Presidency (Council doc. 10345/21, LIMITE, 30 June 2021, pdf):

"3. Assessment

The proposal was received with general, although cautious, interest. As expected, the reactions were of a preliminary nature. All countries [Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania] expressed their willingness to engage in dialogue and to study the proposal further.

Three main reactions can be singled out, regarding the links with neighborhood policy and other initiatives, the format, and themes.

Most expressed the need to clearly differentiate this initiative from existing regional or thematic initiatives and dialogues. Some expressed doubts on the added value and affirmed the importance of their own bilateral (in some cases privileged) relations with the EU.

As for the format, a multilateral dialogue also gave rise to reservations by some, clearly preferring to engage at bilateral level in this possible format, considering their different situations and the sensitivity of some of the issues. Regarding the level of the dialogue, it should be further discussed in future contacts.

Regarding the list of themes, migration (despite being dealt in several other fora) was mentioned by most of the countries approached. Other themes, like security, cybercrime, money laundering, terrorism or fight against corruption were mentioned by some. There was also reference to sensitivities in some Justice areas, and some recognition that many of the themes are cross-cutting and could be better addressed together.

All referred the need of internal consultations with the Ministries of the Interior/Justice before taking an official position.

4. Conclusion

In general terms, we make a positive assessment of the reactions from the potential partner countries. Despite some doubts and reservations, partner countries showed interest and openness to work and discuss the concrete shape of the proposal.

We therefore feel that there is room for the following presidencies, the Commission and the EEAS to pursue a constructive dialogue with these countries over this proposal."

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NOTE from: Commission Services to: Delegations: Update on the state of play of external cooperation in the field of migration policy (Council doc. 10471/21, LIMITE, 6 July 2021, pdf):

"The European Commission adopted the New Pact on Migration and Asylum on 23 September 2020, which contains a strong component on partnerships with third countries.

"This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogues and processes since 2019. The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration by the responsible European Commission and EEAS services."

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