In the last decade, the EU has made major steps towards building a truly comprehensive migration policy, based on common political principles and solidarity. The Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) is, since 2005, the overarching framework of the EU external migration and asylum policy. The framework defines how the EU conducts its policy dialogues and cooperation with non-EU countries, based on clearly defined priorities and embedded in the EU’s overall external action, including development cooperation.
The GAMM is an example of international cooperation at its best – taking account of the interests and objectives of all involved: EU, partner countries and migrants themselves. The agenda is balanced and comprehensive, aimed at four equally important objectives:
The respect of human rights is a cross-cutting priority for this policy framework.
The GAMM is implemented through several political instruments (bilateral and regional policy dialogues and action plans), legal instruments (such as visa facilitation and readmission agreements), operational support and capacity building as well as programme and project support made available to third countries and other stakeholders, e.g. civil society and international organisations.
In the period 2004-2013, the European Commission has committed more than EUR 1 billion to more than 400 migration-related projects. Southern Mediterranean and sub-Saharan African countries have been leading beneficiaries of this funding.
The Communication ‘Maximising the Development Impact of Migration’ of 21 May 2013 identified proposals on how the EU can adopt a more ambitious approach in this area under both the GAMM and the EU’s development policy, the Agenda for Change. It proposed a broadened approach, which gives greater attention to South-South flows, effective integration of migration into national development and poverty reduction plans as well as the inclusion of refugees and other displaced persons in long-term development planning. The main orientations of the Communication were endorsed through Council Conclusions adopted on 23 September 2013.
The framework and methodology of the GAMM are being applied globally with relevant non-EU countries. This allows sufficient flexibility to develop appropriate priorities as the need arises, and to tailor the EU engagement with partner countries appropriately in accordance with existing foreign policy as well as asylum and migration priorities.
Priority is given to the immediate southern and eastern neighbourhood, while migratory routes and countries of origin and transit of strategic interest to the EU are also given special focus.
As regards the regional dialogue processes, priority is given to:
The most elaborated bilateral cooperation frameworks under the GAMM are the Mobility Partnerships (MP) and the Common Agendas for Migration and Mobility (CAMM). They both offer a political framework for comprehensive, enhanced and tailor-made dialogue and cooperation with partner countries (covering all four GAMM objectives), including a set of targets and commitments as well as a package of specific support measures offered by the EU and interested Member States. Both address mobility issues, including where appropriate visa issues, as well as the need to facilitate return and readmission of irregular migrants. However, there are two particular differences: (1) establishing a MP would include the negotiation of visa facilitation and readmission agreements, whereas a CAMM would not, and (2) an MP is mainly used vis-à-vis neighbourhood countries, whereas a CAMM should mainly be used for other third countries.
The Commission's first biennial report on the implementation of the GAMM was adopted on 21 February 2014. The report was welcomed by Council Conclusions of 14 April 2014, which endorsed most of the findings in the report.