Bridging the gap between EU migration and development policies

Progressive Migration Group series

Policy Brief


Migration policymakers often desire to use development cooperation to manage migration, while development experts insist that development policy should be first and foremost about the Sustainable Development Goals.

This policy brief examines how this approach is reflected in the current reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and other policy initiatives, to what extent the current use of development cooperation for migration management is in line with the SDGs, and whether and how the controversies between the two policy areas can be overcome.

It concludes that the EU’s current migration and asylum policies are at odds with the SDGs and the EU’s Aid Effectiveness Agenda, both in spirit and in practice, for example when it comes to the use of conditionality. The policy brief posits that a progressive migration policy could even argue for the instrumentalisation of migration policy for development goals: promoting fair and well-regulated migration arrangements to foster economic and social development.

Progressive Migration Group

FEPS, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung EU Office and Fondation Jean-Jaurès came together to establish the Progressive Migration Group (PMG). The group, chaired by Anna Terron Cusi and composed of African and European migration experts, explores the relations and cooperation between the European Union and the countries of origin and transit, with the aspiration of abandoning the prevailing stagnant narratives surrounding migration, and, above all, with the ambition of formulating innovative recommendations and policy proposals for progressive forces at the EU and national levels in the field of migration management as well as in other policy areas that have an impact on migration causes and flows.

In particular, the project focuses on how these complex relations have been interpreted and translated into policies by the EU institutions, mostly aimed at curbing (irregular) migration by externalising migration control and management. This is a component of EU policy still prevailing in the (New) Pact for Asylum and Migration.

The PMG formulates alternative migration schemes between Africa and Europe that take on board this more profound understanding of this nexus.

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by IPS Journal 13/11/2023
IPS Journal article about FEPS policy briefs 'Communicating on migration'