Asylum and migration issues have recently taken on a new urgency as conditions on the EU’s external border have deteriorated in several member states. When Turkey opened certain border crossings toward Greece to irregular migrants in March 2020, the fragility of the existing understanding between the EU and Turkey on containing irregular migration to the EU came to the fore. More recently, several EU member states have effectively eliminated access to asylum at their external borders, justifying their actions by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this report, the authors argue that the EU cannot sustainably handle these predicaments on its own, but needs to cooperate with migrants’ countries of origin and transit as equal partners. As part of its planned new strategy (the forthcoming New Pact on Migration and Asylum), the EU should provide more support to low- and middle-income countries hosting refugees— especially to Turkey, which now hosts the world’s largest refugee population. To contain irregular migration to Europe along the Central Mediterranean route to Italy, the EU needs to work closely with countries of origin and transit in Africa.
Download the full 2020 MEDAM Assessment Report