Policy Brief on New Security Issues

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EU-GRASP Deliverables
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The relevance that migration as an issue area is assuming for the European Union is visible on more fronts. Recent events in North Africa and the Middle East have shown how the management of irregular migration is part and parcel of European foreign policy, of European actorness and normative tenure. A restrictive approach to the matter, mainly spurred by a security understanding and framing of the same, has demonstrated to be not a far-sighted strategy for the Union, which is at a crucial crossroad of her integration process. Aside from internal problems, the external projection of European migration policy exhibits controversial outcomes. If the Union aims at dealing with the matter properly it is necessary that she embarks on a new and comprehensive approach with origin and transit countries; that she properly shape relations with countries experiencing similar challenges and that she develops common internal prerogatives on migration and asylum matters. To have an impact on global politics the EU should live up to her aspirations and comply with fundamental principles subsumed in her experience. Part to this process would imply to deviate from a prevalently security interpretation and governance of irregular migration, which looks as short-sided and flawed strategy to face the phenomenon.


Humanitarian intervention is always controversial, especially if it involves the use of repressive measures, be it through military means or sanctions. The human security approach undoubtedly provides an interesting blueprint for the EU to improve coherence in its external action, as it is better suited to translate the Union’s founding principles (and its inherent emphasis on non-military conflict resolution) into a policy practice. At the same time, though, political considerations remain relevant as demonstrated by the analysis of the EU’s involvement in four human rights crises (Darfur, Zimbabwe, Gaza and Lebanon). In order to strengthen its credibility and consistency as a humanitarian actor, the EU should prioritize the protection of civilians, avoid double standards at all costs, and prioritize genuine multilateralism, which requires a real involvement of all parties. In this regard, therefore, the EU should refrain from posing ‘take it or leave it’ conditions and recognize that real multilateralism might well lead to non-optimal outcomes for the EU’s interests.

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