A Tale of Two Agreements: EU Migration Cooperation with Morocco and Tunisia

May 2019


The European Union seeks to secure closer cooperation with Morocco and Tunisia on migration, particularly on border management, readmission of their own nationals who are irregularly present in the EU, and reception of third country nationals who transited to Europe through their territories. To achieve this, the EU has mobilised the joint readmission-visa facilitation policy tool, which has been a cornerstone of EU-Mediterranean cooperation on migration and mobility. This instrument seeks to encourage the cooperation of partner countries on border management and on the readmission of individuals present irregularly in the EU through using increased mobility channels for certain groups as incentives.

These two separate agreements are negotiated in parallel as the partner’s cooperation on readmission is rewarded with more relaxation of visa requirements. However, the EU’s talks with both countries have not been as smooth as expected, and remain constrained for the same political and practical challenges. While the EU lacks flexibility and a real willingness to build tailor-made partnerships, the interest of Tunisia and Morocco in pushing forward the talks seems to be limited. Difficulties in these talks requires to critically assess the efficiency and appropriateness of the joint readmission- visa facilitation policy tool and revise the draft agreements with Morocco and Tunisia to move forward the negotiations.

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