EU Engagement with Africa on Migration: A Change of Approach Required

Clare Castillejo
Content Type
Policy Brief
German Development Institute (DIE)
Migration was an important issue at the November African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) summit. While the tone of discussion was somewhat improved on that of recent years, divisions between the two continents remain great. Europe and Africa still have fundamentally different positions in relation to migration, with the EU and many European member states prioritising prevention and return, while African governments focus more on remittances and legal migration opportunities. However, Europe’s current approach does not acknowledge these differing interests and instead seeks to impose its own agenda in ways that threaten to undermine important African ambitions. In recent years, the EU has launched initiatives aimed at curbing migration from Africa that have caused significant controversy, notably the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and the Migration Partnership Framework (MPF). These initiatives suffer from a number of weaknesses. The EUTF is based on the flawed premise that development assistance can prevent migration. It diverts aid to migration goals, and its projects often do not comply with development principles such as transparency, ownership and alignment. Meanwhile, the MPF seeks to use positive and negative incentives across a range of external action areas to encourage partners to cooperate with the EU’s migration goals – primarily on prevention and return. So far, results have been limited and it has soured relations with some partner countries.
International Affairs
Political Geography