31 January 2023
On 9 and 10 February the European Council will meet to approve conclusions on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the economy and migration. A draft version of the conclusions, published here, reinforces longstanding calls to increase the externalisation of migration controls.
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Image: European Union
UPDATE, 8 February
New draft version of the conclusions (pdf) including a call for "the mobilisation of EU funds and means to support Member States in reinforcing border control capabilities and infrastructure, means of surveillance, including aerial surveillance, and equipment. In this context, the European Council invites the Commission to quickly finalise the European Integrated Border Management Strategy"
The draft conclusions (pdf) have six sub-headings concerning migration:
A report in The Guardian based on the conclusions states:
"The European Union could use development aid, trade policy and access to visas as “leverage” over non-EU countries that are deemed to be failing to take back their citizens denied the right to stay in Europe, according to a draft communique seen by the Guardian."
In early December the Czech Presidency of the Council circulated a note on the "state of play" of the EU's various asylum and migration initiatives, intended to inform member state delegations in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER). It is essentially a brief summary of work under the outgoing Czech Presidency. According to the note, this included the exploration of possible civil-military "synergies" in externalised migration control, through a meeting of the Council's External Migration Working Party with representatives of EUCAP Sahel Niger and EUBAM Libya.
In a "non-paper" circulated last April, the European Commission admitted that informal readmission arrangements are preferred to formal readmission agreements for a number of reasons - including the "possibility to keep the arrangement confidential."
The latest Council draft of the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (AMMR) includes a substantial number of changes, including the introduction of the concept of "adaptable responsibility" and an array of new bodies dominated by the member states intended to govern the implementation of EU migration policy.
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