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Migratory routes: The EU action plan for the Central Mediterranean


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The action plan proposes a series of 20 measures structured around three pillars to be promoted by the EU and its Member States.

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Ahead of the extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 25 November 2022, the Commission presents an EU action plan for the Central Mediterranean. Stressing that structural solutions will only be found through agreement on the full set of asylum and immigration reforms currently under negotiation, the Commission proposes a series of operational measures to address immediate and ongoing challenges along the migration Central Mediterranean Street.

The action plan proposes a series of 20 measures structured around three pillars to be promoted by the EU and its Member States. These measures are designed to curb irregular and unsafe migration, provide solutions to emerging search and rescue challenges and strengthen solidarity between Member States in balance with their responsibility. The full action plan is available here.

First pillar: cooperation with partner countries and international organizations

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Enhanced cooperation with partner countries and international organizations is key to addressing migration challenges. The EU will strengthen the capacities of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to ensure better border and migration management. It will strengthen the fight against migrant smuggling and increase diplomatic engagement on returns, while facilitating legal routes to the EU. To coordinate these actions and maximize their impact, the EU will make better use of its coordination structures and will launch a special “Team Europe” initiative for the Central Mediterranean before the end of this year.

Second pillar: more coordinated approach to search and rescue activities

The action plan proposes measures to strengthen cooperation between Member States and all actors involved in search and rescue activities in the Central Mediterranean, making use of the European contact group for search and rescue announced under the new pact. Frontex, together with the Member States concerned, will carry out an assessment of the situation in the Central Mediterranean. Closer coordination with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will be ensured. Discussion within the International Maritime Organization on the need to establish a specific framework and guidelines for vessels, with particular emphasis on search and rescue activities, should also be promoted.

Third pillar: Strengthening the implementation of the voluntary solidarity mechanism and the common road map

The solidarity statement agreed on 22 June 2022 provides for a voluntary and temporary mechanism for one year, which creates a bridge to the future permanent system under the pact. The action plan proposes to speed up the implementation of the mechanism, including by providing rapid support to Member States receiving arrivals by sea, increasing flexibility, streamlining procedures and implementing the financing of alternative solidarity measures.

Next steps

The Commission will present the action plan to the Council ahead of the extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 25 November. The EU will continue to monitor developments on the other key migration routes to Europe, including along the Turkey / Eastern Mediterranean route, the Western Mediterranean / Atlantic route, as well as along the Western Balkans migration route. In this context, the action plan can serve as a model for the development of similar plans that will address the specificities of other migration routes.


The Czech Presidency called for an emergency Justice and Home Affairs Council to be convened following the increase in arrivals along the Central Mediterranean route, amounting to more than 50% compared to 2021 figures. Most people who reached European shores risked their lives on perilous journeys and saved after search and rescue operations at sea.

In recent years, the Commission has made progress in addressing the challenges through the targeted approach of third countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Bangladesh. The Commission has built strategic partnerships, including with Niger, to combat trafficking, build capacity in partner countries, strengthen cooperation on legal migration and returns, and address root causes. In addition, a voluntary solidarity mechanism has been operational since June which aims to provide targeted solidarity to countries receiving a disproportionate number of arrivals.

The October Justice and Home Affairs Council discussed recent developments in the Western Balkans migration route, where there has also been a large increase in migration flows recently. The discussion focused, in particular, on the visa policy of the Western Balkan region and the key areas of cooperation with the Western Balkan partners, identifying joint initiatives to be developed with the aim of strengthening European action.

Recent developments further underline the need to find sustainable and structural European solutions to our common challenges, based on the integrated approach set out in new pact on immigration and asylum proposed in 2020. It remains vital to ensure these reforms are approved before the end of the current parliamentary term.

George Fellidis

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I have worked as a journalist for over 8 years. I have written for many different news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN. I have also published my own book on the history of the world. I am currently a freelance writer and editor, and I am always looking for new opportunities to write and edit interesting content.

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