European response to growing Climate-induced migration.

Miriam Ferrer González

MSc student, School of Integrated Climate System Sciences, Hamburg University, Hamburg

Winter semester, 2010-11

The purpose of this essay is to provide an overview of the current European policies regarding migration issues. Nowadays, many are the unknowns regarding Climate Change. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure, global warming will lead to an unprecedented increase in human migration. Governments in developed countries, are very much aware of it, therefore their migration policies are being changed. Cooperation with origin and transit countries and a major strengthening of border security are the strategies followed by Member States of the European Union.

This essay has been divided into several sections.

The first section is

about Climate change and its social impacts whilst the second part deals with the European Framework in migration policies. The third section provides an overview of Frontex which is the most representative institution of the European border regime. The following section deals with the drop in migration flux towards Europe. An interview with the General Coordinator of the European Centre for the Study of Migration Flows is given in the fifth section. The essay concludes with the writer's personal opinions.

Developing countries will directly suffer the current and future consequences of global change. one fifth of the world’s population lives in cities located on the coast. some of them are currently taking place: lack of fresh water and food availability. Global warming is commonly denominated as "threat multiplier". Developed countries will be able to invest in mitigation and adaptation measures. a destabilized society cannot deal with crisis situations in the same manner as a well-organized community. Of course. whereas developing nations will be completely vulnerable to climate change impacts. Thus.Climate change and social disturbance European Union member states are increasingly concerned about Climate Change. hydrological risk due to extreme events will directly affect these populations besides global economy. developed nations will face them from a completely different perspective. but also the social and political framework of these countries is crucial. Obviously. However. due to its potential to exacerbate existing tensions and social instabilities. There will be conflicts over natural resources. fish stock deplection. There is a commonly observed tendency to political radicalisation within this framework. Not only their economic situation is important. . Fragile and failing states will be not be able to cope with climate change issues and it would lead to a worsening of existing tensions between different ethnic and religious groups. decrement of arable land and often extreme events in the hydrological cycle are just some examples. therefore conflicts over land and territorial rights are very likely. Social problems driven by global warming will be many as well as with different in their characteristics. It is projected the greatest land mass loss. These issues will lead to significant economic losses as well as social disturbance. climate-induced damages will be more severe in overpopulated countries. Most of the needed infrastructures to supply such cities are either along the seashore or in river deltas. These disputes will adversely affect political stability of many countries. Roughly.

security and justice'. Actions out of EU frontiers are taken in order to achieve an 'area of freedom. In the document which was called “Cooperation on Justice and Home Affairs” (JHA). Morocco. As a consequence. transit and destination regions. proposals focus on the improvement in regional development. the EU Member States agreed to cooperate on nine matters of common interest. In order to improve European Actions towards this issue.Environmental changes will trigger mass migrations. areas such as policies on asylum. human rights and development issues in countries and regions of origin and transit”. It is highly complicated to predict the scale and impacts of environmental migration. external border controls and immigration issues were addressed. cooperation with not EU members. however. Six years later. in the Treaty of Amsterdam (ToA) the community method regarding asylum and migration policy was introduced. Albania. Somalia and Sri Lanka. proposed by the Dutch delegation in 1998 is the first tangible measure for cooperation with third countries. It reads as follows: “The European Union needs a comprehensive approach to migration addressing political. the concept of “comprehensive approach to migration” was introduced by the Tampere European Council in 1999. These countries were: Afghanistan. The action plans should consist of : an integrated analysis of the induced migration. in order to develop such cooperation programs. with the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty. Pakistan. The High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG). Common European Framework for Migration policies Since 1993. European asylum and migration policies develop an external dimension. the most important countries of origin and transit were selected. detection of humanitarian necessities and suggestions to its eradication. An already existing action plan for Iraq was also taken into account by HLWG. such events are very likely to amplify conflicts in origin. strengthening of political and diplomatic dialogue with the country . in particular with countries of origin and transit. is the key element which leads to a better management of asylum and migration problems. Within this framework. On a theoretical level.

possibilities for reception and protection in the territory. . which was considered as the strategic element of prospered relations. European migration policies were developed into the Hague Program. Between 2004 and 2009. in 2002 a new measure was introduced. It covered a policy plan for economic migration. Noncooperative countries would be evaluated and penalized with the interruption of development aid. suggestions for readmission clauses and agreements. At the end of 2009. non-governmental) as well as with the UN's refugee agency. repatriation and collaboration with different kind of organizations (governmental. In pursuance of stimulating the third countries cooperation. intergovernmental. the member states agreed to the Stockholm Program that is the current framework in which migration policies are established. The aim of this measure was to create an integrated border management system.concerned. mechanisms for exchanging information on integration policy. cooperation with third countries and the creation of the border agency. Frontex. Due to the increasing trend of illegal immigration. safe coming back. Such efforts would include an agreement on readmission of illegal residents. It has been assessed as a program with lots of detail that offers few specifics as to the final goal.

Technical assistance and training of border guardians. current immigration measures taken by EU Member States can be classified into two groups:   Grants.  “Assisting Member States in joint return operations – When Member States make the decision to return foreign nationals staying illegally who have . In this section. security and justice”. loans and financial aid in order to enhance political and social stability in Origin and Transit Countries. which act in case of an unlooked-for situation at the EU external territorial border. The establishment of a militarized European Border Control Agency. Frontex tasks can be classified as follow:     Analysis of daily situation at the EU’s external borders in order to optimise resource allocation. Its main aim reads in its webpage as follows: “to ensure that the EU’s external borders remain permeable and efficient for bona fide travellers while being an effective barrier to cross-border crime”. Integrated Management of joint operations at the Union’s external land. sea and air borders. paying special attention to its tasks as well as its growing budget. FRONTEX Asides from more restrictive visa requirements. which is based on the Tampere (1999-04). Frontex is the “European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union”.EU response to growing migration pressures. Developing a rapid crisis-response system. the "Rapid Border Intervention Teams" (RABITs). It is the most representative institution of the European border regime. an overview of the latter is given. Hague (2004-09) and Stockholm (2010-14) programmes. The legal basis of this institution was created within the framework of the “area of freedom. which is called Frontex.

Frontex assists those Member States’ governments in coordinating their efforts to maximise efficiency and costeffectiveness while also ensuring that respect for fundamental rights and the human dignity of returnees is maintained at every stage of the operation. financial and administrative autonomy. which is in the common interests of all the authorities concerned. It is a legal entity. Frontex budget comes fundamentally from European Community contributions and it has strongly increased since 2005. which enjoy operating.”  Operational cooperation with third countries .failed to leave voluntarily. when it began its operations. “Such collaboration leads to increased harmony between EU and non-EU systems and structures and promotes also part of Frontex tasks. Broadly speaking. .any country not a member of the EU . and this is considered as key tool for fighting against illegal migration and crime. Frontex is a European militarized institution in charge of the whole set of migration-related issues. its revenue has raised nine fold.” Frontex also tries to potentialize third countries cooperation in order to align their border control systems with European standards. In five years.

.000 migration fluxes have significantly decreased. There has been an increase of 10% in the number of application for asylum in the EU Member States between 2008 and 2009. in the specific case of Spain this figure plummeted to its lowest level since 1989. there was also a drop in the number of applications.The World Health Organization has reported around 150. Since 2002. whilst the Global Humanitarian Forum puts this figure at over 300. In Countries such as Italy. 34% less than in the previous year. United Kingdom and Greece. the fall for these countries was no as sharp as in the Spanish case. and their inhabitants are currently suffering from environmental problems related to Climate Change . Even though. many armed conflicts in African countries persist.Great drop in African migration flux towards Europe EU migration actions have had clear and convincing results. There where 2. a negative trend can be observed. However. Nevertheless. As can be seen from the above graph.999 applications for asylum in 2009.000 annual climate-related fatalities. most of the asylum seekers in Spain last year come from African countries.

Border control policies have been becoming increasingly more oppressive and Spain has become a fortress. The Spanish secretary of state for security. agreements with the countries of origin and the effectiveness of Frontex". in which there is a lack of respect for human rights. . returns transferring to third countries the control of migratory fluxes . Members of CEAR condemn this phenomenon. This drop is mainly due to the set of measures taken by Frontex border agency. by its Spanish acronym). The number of illegal boat arrivals to European coasts has also strongly decreased over the last years. stated that the causes of this decline are prompted by "the work of the State Security Forces.Organizations such as the European Commission in aid to refugees (CEAR.make international protection access much more difficult. Antonio Camacho. as can be seen by the figure below. denounce this fact. Asylum seekers face enormous difficulties in accessing the asylum procedure. from their point of view the externalization of EU border control .

European migration mechanisms are effective. Although Manuel Ferrer does not think this is the manner in which EU should deal with this issue. last political campaign of the current Senegal president was funded with Spanish Cooperation Funds. it is very likely that the moment when these people finally migrate has been postponed. It leads to a temporary “success”. current cooperation European investments. they will try another illegal migration route to come to Europe. they are not able to come to Europe to disturb European population. General Coordinator of the European Centre for the Study of Migration Flows. issues such as real consequences of EU migration policies. they did not benefit from them. In spite of the fact that such funds were given in order to help repatriated people. When Sahara shore was patrolled. For instance. A type of cooperation that should be different from the existing one. When one border is blocked. EU immigration investments are fundamentally focused in security matters. An effective European investment in cooperation would lead to better outcomes. People who starve go on in the same situation. then Noadibú coast was used as alternative route. Before they die of starvation. regarding to security control. . over-exploitation by fishing industry from developed countries and deterioration of the African traditional fishing methods have been addressed. Thus. which is used for private interests. This section has been entirely developed with the provided information by Manuel Ferrer during the interview. This means. Nevertheless. There has been a sharp decrease in the number of irregular migrants arrivals. but at their homes. which will be much more dangerous. if we can contemplate EU migration policies outcomes as such. border control and prevent departures are their priority. Among other topics. The purpose of this section is to provide a broad personal and professional opinion regarding this matter.Interview with Manuel Ferrer. they seek another one. and when Noadibú was controlled people used further south routes.

and it did work fairly well. authorities could not care less. Ferrer thinks that it is obvious the correlation between natural resource depletion and human migration. EU has lost sight of reality. Small canoes . a large number of Senegalese boats sink due to crash into those large boats. this issue should be tackled by deterrence through strength. They know that their boats would most likely be used for illegal migration. From his point of view. but they do not have any other option. Japan’s and Chinese fishing industry. It is difficult for him to give his opinion regarding this topic and does not get too worked up. . A consultation process was possible during the last law on Foreign Nationals redaction. The EU main concern lies in keeping immigrants out of EU borders at all costs and integration and cooperation policies goes up in smoke. “Frontex is like trying to kill a flea with the sledgehammer”. Over-exploitation by European. along the African coasts has led to deterioration of the African traditional fishing methods. Of course. from a practical point of view as well as at regional level. Measures taken by Frontex are disproportionate responses to the problem. but such measures cause many deaths. traditional fishing techniques are part of its culture as well as its mean of subsistence.There is a total lack of communication between NGOs related to migration issues and governmental institutions. From Ferrer´s point of view. where he has personally known affected fishermen. Nevertheless. Actions are too slow and there is a poor sense of perspective. Senegal has been especially touched. Senegalese boat owners are forced to sell their crafts in order to survive. Except for grants -which have been sharply reducedgovernmental institutions are unaware of the NGOs needs. Manuel Ferrer has travelled to Mauritania and Senegal. Also they are indifferent to the current growing difficulties faced by NGO´s. Under no circumstances. EU migration policies are completely uncoordinated. they cannot fish anymore. the real intention of European migration policies by means of the operations coordinated by Frontex is not to kill people.the same crafts that nowadays are used to migrate cannot compete with the powerful fishing vessels. which is at the least insufficient. Even worse.

Whilst the revenues of NGO's and organizations that aid immigrants have been dramatically reduced . I would like to quote a sentence that was written by George Orwell in his book "Why I write". "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind". without a shadow of a doubt global warming will lead to an increase of non regulated migration fluxes. therefore many people who do not have any subsistence way are forced to travel under dreadful conditions. there is a tendency to eliminate physical barriers between countries. It is commonly believed that we are “in a growingly borderless world” but many are the arguments against such a statement. discourse and real goals are not pointing in the same direction. Reasons why a visa may be denied are many as well as very interesting. In the section "EU response to growing migration pressures. Even though. Visas are documents which permit entry into and travel within a particular country. Nevertheless. the latter is just a meaningless excuse to ban human freedom. This fact demonstrates the real concern of Europe politicians. to keep the European public unaware of migrations problems. Regardless of the terrible conditions that most of the world population is suffering. another kind of documents may also be required. somehow it does make sense.with the current global crisis as excuse . Nevertheless the possession of it does not provide a guarantee of entry into this region.Frontex enjoys greater funds. from my point of view. there are many different ways to get the same result. Developed countries borders are being strictly blocked and legal procedures become even more complicated. . Even though. From having a criminal record or criminal charges pending to not have a good moral character. The former could be understood as a security measure in order to protect people who inhabit the country. Climate Change consequences are still unknowns. Legal procedures to migrate from one region to another are long and most of the time unsuccessful. The role of bulky and obvious walls has been replaced by light and subtle papers. FRONTEX".Personal Opinion Many are the ways as well as the means that people use to reach others countries. I did so because. some parts have been literally copied from the source.

eu “CLIMATE CHANGE AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY” Paper from the High Representative and the European Commission to the European Council (S113/08.europa.migrationinformation. 2008 .cear.Bibliography: “Migration Information Source” 14 March 2008) “Cear report 2010” “Frontex web site” http://www.pdf Europe's global role: external policies of the European Union Jan Orbie.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful