Migration Provision of the Cotonou Agreement

Eurostep Weekly notes the failure of the EU and ACP to agree on mutually acceptable revisions to Article 13, the Migration provision, of the Cotonou Agreement and calls attention to a February 2010 briefing paper issued by CONCORD’s Cotonou Working Group.

Negotiations between the EU and ACP regarding the second revisions to the Agreement are to continue and are expected to be concluded before the next ACP-EU Ministerial Council in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on 3-4 June.

Excerpts from CONCORD’s briefing paper:

“[***]  Migration – The revision of Article 13 on Migration of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement aims at bringing the current provision into line with the Global Approach to Migration centered on three pillars: legal migration, fight against illegal migration and the synergies between migration and development. However, there is a real danger that the fight against illegal migration, strongly advocated by the EU side, is prioritized and that ODA [Official Development Assistance] is used as a means and incentive to encourage legal and policy frameworks in origin and transit countries to limit migration and restrict migrants’ rights.

Currently, Article 13 includes a clause on readmission, but to become operational, it requires the implementation of bilateral readmission agreements. The implementation of readmission agreements includes important risks of:

– inhumane and degrading treatment

– extended an arbitrary treatment in the countries migrants are brought back to

– a breach of the principle of non-refoulement of asylum seekers when these countries do not guarantee access to a fair asylum procedure

– a breach of article 3 of the European Human Rights Convention which stipulates that a person should not be submitted to the risk of inhumane and degrading treatment, nor deported to a country where he or she risks exposure to such treatment.

The EU side would like the clause on readmission in the Cotonou Agreement to become self-executive and binding for all ACP countries without needing complementary bilateral agreements. This will imply unmanageable obligations for many countries and hence an increased risk of migrants rights violations throughout the process of readmission. In no way should EC and MS ODA be dependent on the signature of readmission agreements (being bilateral or multilateral). By making development aid conditional on cooperation on border control, the EU is turning development aid into a tool for implementing restrictive and security-driven immigration policies which are at odds with its commitment to make migration work for development…..”

Click here for CONCORD’s Briefing Paper.

Click here for Eurostep Weekly article.


Filed under Analysis, European Union

2 responses to “Migration Provision of the Cotonou Agreement

  1. Pingback: EU and ACP Fail to Reach Agreement on Migration in Revised Cotonou Agreement « MIGRANTS AT SEA

  2. Pingback: CONCORD Briefing Paper on Revisions to Cotonou Agreement « MIGRANTS AT SEA

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