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The Global Approach to Migration and Mobility


  • Tineke Strik





Since the Treaty of Amsterdam, the EU has developed several instruments delineating cooperation with third countries in the management of migration, borders and asylum in the so-called Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). Under the ‘more for more’ mechanism, the EU tries to persuade third countries to strengthen their border controls, restrict their visa policy and readmit irregular migrants with incentives such as trade benefits, visa facilitation or financial support. In its Partnership Framework of 2016, the Commission announced a more pro-active approach by shifting its emphasis from the ‘more for more’ to the ‘less for less’ mechanism, including leverages and tools of all other policy areas. This article analyses the overall objectives of the GAMM (which are promoting fundamental rights and achieving an equal partnership) and the content of its four pillars. While elaborating on the potential impact on the policies in third countries and the human rights of migrants, it concludes that due to the paradoxical objectives, the cooperation has the potential to create counterproductive effects and an incoherent foreign policy. The absence of criteria on human rights for the selection of partner countries as well as the lack of a mechanism on monitoring or suspension of such cooperation lowers the chance of an adequate response in case of human rights violations. With these considerations in mind, the article explores the content and impact of the EU-Turkey deal and answers the question if it serves as a blueprint for a new generation of readmission agreements with other countries. The author concludes that due to the lack of mutual benefits and the differences in human rights standards and practices, transferring the responsibility of refugees to third countries will not prove effective and compliant with EU standards.