.This research assesses possibly new frameworks to tackle the prevalence of illegal migration between Europe and West Africa on the inter-regional policy level. The key question discussed is ‘To what extent does the EU-ECOWAS liaison on the inter-regional level have the potential to mitigate the perceived challenges of illegal migration between the two regions.’ Based on a rich body of qualitative data derived from regional and national actors, the research breaks fresh grounds. It suggests that due to a deadlock within the political migration domain, alternative policy tools must be sought.
The peculiar characteristics of mostly labor market driven migration between the regions propose that migration dynamics can be transformed by means of economic policy tools. The EU and the ECOWAS hold unprecedentedly strong mandates for concluding inter-regional trade agreements, the EPAs. This endows the two regional actors with exceptional potential to introduce policy frameworks that, beside others, mitigate the perceived migration challenges.
This critical analysis gives valuable insights to the widely unexplored level of inter-regional cooperation in the migration policy domain. Beyond that, this explorative, process and interest oriented qualitative research has been able to look beyond the prevailing academic debates and policy proposals. The latter narrowly focus on the knowingly limited migration policies as the only possible solution. This research shows that the various societal interests and governments’ limitations in policy options have to be taken serious. But it also shows that workable policy solutions can be sought in other policy domains, like the economic one. >>> read Part II. of I./II./III./IV./V./VI. <<<
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