20 Years of 'Partnership with Countries of Origin and Transit'

AuthorMichael Collyer
ProfessionProfessor of Geography at the University of Sussex
Michael Collyer
1. Introduction
In October 1999, I was one year into my PhD on the movement
of refugees across the Mediterranean. At the time, the passage
that caught my eye in the conclusions of the Tampere European
Council was the opening lines of the opening section outlining “A
Common EU Asylum and Migration Policy”. Immediately under
this main title, sub-section I is headed “Partnership with Coun-
tries of Origin”. is contains just two short paragraphs (11 and
12) which expand the sub-heading to “partnership with countries
of origin and transit”. Yet these two paragraphs formalised the
longstanding and highly inuential aim of engaging with non-EU
countries for migration related reasons. ey contain some of the
most ambitious objectives of the entire document. ese objectives
continue to structure what has become known as the “external
dimension” of EU asylum and migration policy. Twenty years ago,
this focus shaped my PhD and it has framed most of the research I
have undertaken ever since.
e importance of this theme lies in the tremendous potential
for positive change such partnerships can bring, both in Europe
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