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Migration in the Central Mediterranean. Jean Monnet Occasional Papers 02/2013

Pace, Roderick (2013) Migration in the Central Mediterranean. Jean Monnet Occasional Papers 02/2013. [Policy Paper]

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    In the last decade irregular immigration has emerged as a “security” challenge (in the language of International Relations military “threat”) in the Mediterranean region particularly in the central, sub-region1. The designation of this issue as a “security challenge” or “threat” is itself controversial and will be discussed further down. This paper focuses on the situation in the central Mediterranean involving mainly four countries namely Italy, Libya, Malta and Tunisia all of which have long standing historic links and bilateral relations and participate in the so called “5+5” Dialogue in the Western Mediterranean. Two of these Central Mediterranean countries (Italy, Malta) are EU member states and Tunisia has a long standing relationship with the EU [Association Agreement, Barcelona Process (EMP), Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)] while Libya so far has no formal relations at all with the EU. This paper analyses some of the aspects of migration in the central Mediterranean focusing on the link between the domestic and international politics of the issue in Italy and Malta and contrasting the different approaches taken. For example, although Italy and Malta both resort to self-help and both try to involve the EU in helping them tackle the problem, they do this in a markedly different way: Italy uses the EU as a supplement to its independent and bilateral efforts while Malta looks to the EU as the major solution to the problem. Lacking the power and influence to deal with the issue, Malta tends to see the problem as primarily a multilateral issue or one that can only be tackled in concert with stronger powers in the region preferably within an EU context. On the other hand, Italy has been keen in involving the EU but decided to go it alone when this option turned out to be a dead end. In this paper I also try to show the extent (or limitations) to which multilateral initiatives such as the “5+5” and Euro operation really play a decisive role in incentivizing or facilitating inter-state cooperation or joint solutions. This paper also refers to the EU acquis, the notion of solidarity (norms) and the extent to which it is implemented as well as a number of connected issues. The subjects of this paper, the Mediterranean Boat People, have been referred to by various names in the literature, all of which may be more or less deficient in actually defining them all. They have been referred to as “illegal” or “irregular” immigrants, “refugees” in search of international protection, “migrants at sea” and “boat people”. The use of “boat people” dispenses with the need of having to define the various categories of migrants involved and is thus preferred in this paper.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Libya, Tunisia.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Italy
    Countries > Malta
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > Third Pillar/JHA/PJCC/AFSJ > immigration policy
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Malta, Institute for European Studies > Occasional Papers
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2014 11:25
    Number of Pages: 23
    Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 12:16

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