EU’s Migration Strategy: Outsourcing and Migration Deals with Third Nations

An overcrowded refugee boat capsizes in the Mediterranean (Photo: CSDP/EEAS

The European Union has an ongoing dispute about how to handle migration. A New Pact on Migration and Asylum was adopted at the end of the previous year. The agreement meant to be the bloc’s comprehensive reform on the issue. However, it raised some unanswered questions.

The resulting dispute would now be resolved by introducing the principle of quota distribution or payment. In order to respond to a sudden surge in immigration, the crisis and force majeure regulation establishes a mechanism to ensure solidarity measures to support member states faced with an exceptional influx of third-country nationals.

The rules also cover the instrumentalisation of migrants, particularly, migrants from nations like Tunisia, Turkey, or India with statistically low acceptance rates (less than 20 percent) will be detained at the border in “asylum centers” that resemble prisons in an effort to curtail and discourage irregular migration. In those centers, the goal is to process asylum claims in 12 weeks or less, and to promptly return people whose claims are denied — we wrote after adoption of the agreement.

Migration Pact Still in Progress

“Do we need to work with third countries to manage migration? My answer is definitely yes. We are already doing that and it’s necessary to do it even more. Nobody can manage migration alone,” the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johannson said on Tuesday. Johannson emphasized that the EU needs to take action regarding the individuals who are currently residing on its soil. Concurrent with the reform,

the European Union has intensified its endeavors to strengthen the notion of the “external dimension” of migration by creating customized accords with neighboring nations, such as Egypt, Tunisia, and Mauritiana. The agreement requires all participating nations to improve border management, such as coast guards, in exchange for a large financial contribution from the EU.

According to the most recent data available from the UN Migration agency, IOM, 521 migrants (nearly 2.000 in 2024) were stopped and returned to the Libyan coast just in the first week of March.

Italy went one step further in addressing the “external dimension” last year when it signed a protocol with Albania to handle up to 36,000 asylum requests annually in the Balkan nation. For migrants who are rescued by Italian authorities at sea and disembark in the Albanian coastal town of Shëngjin—where two centers will be constructed at Rome’s expense and will be solely governed by Italian law—the special procedure will be applicable. The recipients of international protection will be relocated to Italy.

A Remedy to stop the People On The Move?

Tunisia together with the other North African states are common departure points for asylum seekers who want to reach shore of Europe-so they can stop the boats, eventually reduce migration. And the EU happily pay for their efforts. Trade, investments, and green energy are among the topics covered in the agreement with Tunis last year. However, the precise financial information is still unknown (The Guardian claims it could be as high as €150 million). Egypt will receive €87 million from the European Union this year for maritime search and rescue operations and border surveillance.

Johannson only revealed less than a week ago the new deal with Mauritania, which includes €210 million to help the country control migration and take action against people traffickers.

The agreement between the EU and Tunisia serves as a taste of things to come: Brussels is keen to reach agreements with other nations in Northern Africa now that it has established this framework.

Both the EPP and the Current Eu Boss Are on the Side of Outsourcing

However, migrant rights advocates vented their own frustration about the deal, arguing the EU was turning a blind eye to Tunisia’s poor human rights track record, as well as its increasingly authoritarian government. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called blueprint for similar partnership. The Italy-Albanian agreement was endorsed by Von der Leyen as an “example of out-of-the-box thinking, based on fair sharing of responsibilities with third countries.”

After von der Leyen’s center-right European People’s Party (EPP) adopted a manifesto f for the EU elections that called for agreements to ensure that “anyone applying for asylum in the EU could also be transferred to a safe third country and undergo the asylum process there,” the outsourcing debate came back into focus last week.

“If the application is approved, the safe third country will provide the applicant with protection while they are there. The manifesto states that “a comprehensive contractual agreement will be established with the safe third country.”

The project immediately brought to mind the UK Prime Minister’s Rwanda plan.

The number of applications for international protection received by the EU in the previous year increased by 18 percent, to 1.14 million. the quantity of applications reaching a peak of seven years. According to Johansson, about one-third of these were filed by immigrants who entered the EU illegally.


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