Illegal immigration has increased significantly in Europe following the war in Syria and the conflicts in Africa since the 2010s. Faced with this “migration crisis” and in a desire to reduce these flows through past agreements, the European Union wants to warn candidates for this migration of the risks incurred during this long crossing. In addition, in 2015 the European Commission defined an EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2015 – 2020).
Outsourcing the management of migratory flows: controversial agreements
Without an internal consultation on migration management and under the rise of extremisms (e.g. Hungary) and border closures, Member States – favorable or not on the quota of refugees proposed by the European Commission – have reached an agreement with Ankara. Itstipulated that in return for financial compensation, Turkey undertakes to retain migrants from Syria, which gives it a position of power. Although this agreement has made it possible to greatly reduce the flows arriving in Greece, the living conditions of the retained migrants can be questionable.
The Union wants to replicate the same scheme by launching a new action plan to restrict mass migration from Libya, and thus restore the “Libyan lock”. Some flagship measures of the action plan: Training and equipment of the Libyan coastguard, project to create a monitoring and rescue center to prevent boats in poor condition from entering the sea. However, Libya is singled out by several NGOs for the living conditions in which sub-Saharan migrants are plunged.
EU educates migrants on risks and invests in sustainable development of countries in need
Conscious of the risks incurred by migrants during their journey, the European Commission is committed to financing, through the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, projects to raise awareness of the risks of irregular migration (departure and arrival hazards, smuggling activities etc.) and inform about legal alternatives of regular migration. These projects target several countries in sub-Saharan Africa with large numbers of migrant departures.
More structurally, Europe is also trying to address the root causes of conflict and displacement by investing in areas in need, thanks to projects funded in particular through the European Development Fund for Africa, the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, and participating in the peace process in Syria.
Finally, will the European Union achieve conclusive results through the implementation of its actions and plans by outsourcing its borders? And in order to reduce migratory flows, will it be possible to conclude an agreement that is effective with a country without a functional state such as Libya?