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Funding the EU’s external migration policy: ‘Same old’ or potential for sustainable collaboration?

Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi , Nasrat Sayed , Federica Zardo

Date: 03/04/2023
In this Discussion Paper, the authors examine changes in the EU funding landscape relating to migration policy and provide recommendations on how to maximise the benefits of cooperation. Since 2015, when the EU was first exposed to a significant rise in irregular arrivals from neighbouring countries, funding has acquired increasing salience, leading to the mobilisation of €7 billion through Trust Funds and the creation of a specific heading devoted to migration and border management in the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.

The authors look closely at the funding dimension of Talent Partnerships, the latest initiative to support legal migration to the EU, and the contradictions. Given funding’s ability to enhance cooperation with third countries, the Paper focuses on how the EU could take several steps toward ensuring sustainable collaboration. These include moving towards long-term planning, embedding transparency guarantees in the operationalisation of its initiatives, scaling up Talent Partnerships for more impactful and mutually beneficial cooperation, and striving for third-country ownership.

Furthermore, in the context of growing political and economic instability around the world, financial resources should equally be used to address the different components of migration processes, such as local development, legal migration, circular migration, integration, but also displacement and forced (im)mobilities. At the same time, long-standing issues of accountability and transparency should be addressed through new instruments.

The conditions through which funding can act as a catalyst for sustainability and co-development are also analysed, and recommendations are provided on the next steps for EU action.

Read the full paper here.
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