Global Europe – the new EU development cooperation instrument – will be implemented in a context of 80 million people globally facing long-term forced displacement. Of that number, 85% are hosted in low and middle-income countries, the majority in their own country or in a neighbouring country. In the near future, this number is expected to increase due to climate crises, conflicts and food insecurity.
CONCORD was against setting a migration spending target in Global Europe, not because migration is not an important theme in development, but because of the way it has been framed by the EU – aimed at curbing migration rather than reducing inequalities and poverty and promoting human rights. CONCORD has also urged EU Member States not to support migration cooperation conditionality in the instrument.
However, given that the EU has chosen to proceed with a regulation that includes references to conditionality, as well as a robust spending target for migration-related activities, CONCORD aims to propose a way forward, which supports constructive development efforts related to migration, while highlighting some risks of conditionality and securitization contained in the Global Europe Regulation.
A positive way forward would respond to the real needs that exist in communities in relation to migration and respect the highest standards set by international, humanitarian and human rights law. Researchers in the field of migration and development broadly agree that migration generally brings about both positive and negative effects for people on the move as well as for their places of origin, transit and destination.
Development cooperation can contribute to strengthening the positive effects of migration on development and livelihoods in low and middle-income countries, as well as attempting to prevent the negative effects on societies and protect the safety and human rights of people on the move. The EU support could help harness the benefits of cross-border movement of peoples and the development contributions of diaspora. Instead, externalising the EU’s migration policies and prioritising the EU’s internal agenda around migration is detrimental for migrants’ rights and local development and breaches the EU Treaties’ principle of policy coherence for development.
Part 1 of this paper aims to critically assess some key risks that Global Europe approach to migration entails. With evidence, Part 2 suggests, in practice, which types of projects and programmes as well as unexplored areas the EU should focus on for the migration actions under Global Europe. Part 3 gathers some innovative and forward-looking recommendations to the EU about the implementation of the share of the Global Europe budget earmarked for migration related activities.