Don’t close borders, manage them: how to improve EU policy on migration through Libya

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Series Details June 2017
Publication Date June 2017
ISBN 978-1-911544-20-3
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+ In 2017, two years after the start of the refugee crisis, migration flows via Libya to Europe are increasing, while deaths in the Mediterranean have skyrocketed. Current policies have failed to reduce the number of migrants reaching Europe’s shores.

+ The EU and its member states need to rethink their basic assumptions about migration and break popular taboos about the movement of people if they are going to reduce flows. The first step is to cast away the idea that borders can be completely closed to economic migrants.

+ The EU and its member states need to manage flows, rather than aiming to cut them to zero. To do this, legal migration channels should be opened so that illegal channels can be shut via a series of readmission agreements.

+ Through a coalition of the willing, EU member states can implement this policy, which should also involve establishing safe and quick procedures to guarantee asylum to refugees; reinforcing the Libyan economy and its local communities; building respect for the rule of law and human rights; and finally, broadening the scope of the EU Border Assistance Mission to Libya.

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Related Links
ESO: Information Guide: European Migration Challenges
ESO: Background information: Italy and Germany call for EU mission on Libyan border, May 2017
ESO: Background information: Bordering on crisis: Europe, Africa, and a new approach to crisis management
ESO: Background information: Europe’s wall against African migrants is almost complete
ESO: Background information: NGOs under attack for saving too many lives in the Mediterranean
ESO: Background information: Libya: The strategy that wasn’t (CEPS Commentary, April 2017)
EU: EEAS: Libya and the European Union

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