22.- 25.9

P 10

Unpacking EU-West African migration governance: stakes, actors and colonial continuities

 Leonie Jegen, Arnold-Bergstraesser Institute
Franzisca Zanker, Arnold-Bergstraesser Institute

Short Abstract:

Since 2015 there has been a renewed push towards integrating West African states into European migration ‘management’. This panel discusses stakes, actors and colonial continuities in Eurafrican migration governance processes.

Long abstract:

The unprecedented influx of refugees and other migrants to Europe in 2015 led to a renewed push towards integrating West African states into European migration ‘management’. Management of mobilities as such is not a novelty in Eurafrican relations, which have and continue to be shaped by their shared colonial past. Nevertheless, the recent increased relevance of migration for European policy makers resulted in a surge of funding for national policy development and institutions building, for example through the EU Partnership Framework on Migration. Numerous meetings, events and summits have been dedicated to the purpose of dealing with migration governance.

The already asymmetric partnership is however far from becoming more cooperative. Migration is a common development strategy for many individuals, communities and West African states and many national reforms are driven by external incentives. This also leads to migration becoming increasingly politicized and mobility undermined by initiatives targeted at regulating and restricting movement.

This panel seeks to unpack Eurafrican migration governance, by inviting proposals that look at stakes, actors and colonial continuities in the processes. The panel will pose a number of questions including how do West African governments formulate migration governance approaches in view of growing external influence in the field?  Is migration governance used as a leverage to European counterparts?  What is the role of international organizations like the UNHCR and IOM in political migration agendas?  How are African governments, political communities and civil society actors resisting, subverting or coopting externalized migration agendas? And how can we embed current developments in a wider post-/neo-colonial perspective? This panel seeks contributions from all disciplines that seek consider West-African perspectives on migration governance.

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