The European Union’s Action Plan on Migration Management in the Eastern Mediterranean, announced in June, was announced on Wednesday by the European Commission ahead of the Justice and Home Affairs Council and the European Council.

The plan includes targeted operational measures, and complements the action plans already presented for the Western Balkans, Central Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean and Atlantic migration routes.

However, the plan is without prejudice to the report to be presented by the High Representative and the Commission on the state of play of EU-Turkey relations, based on the mandate from the European Council in June 2023.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had pledged to present the plan in her letter to leaders ahead of the European Council meeting on 29-30 June 2023.

The Action Plan includes 29 targeted operational measures in four areas:

1. Prevent irregular departures, fight migrant smuggling and provide legal pathways for migration through:

– strengthening cooperation with countries of origin and transit in Asia, Africa and Turkey to fight migrant smuggling

– implementation of the measures in the toolbox for transporters

– creating opportunities for legal migration, including through talent partnerships

– continued efforts to resettle refugees in need of international protection

– strengthening cooperation between Europol, Frontex and EUROJUST.

2. Strengthening effective border management along the Eastern Mediterranean route, including countries of origin and transit through:

– supporting border management capacities at Turkey’s eastern border

– strengthening and improving border management and control, including at the EU’s external land and sea borders

– strengthening regional cooperation with partners in the Southern Neighbourhood

– promoting renewed cooperation between Frontex and Turkey;

– improving situational awareness at maritime borders, in cooperation with Frontex.

3. Strengthen cooperation on returns and readmission with countries of origin and transit through:

– continuing cooperation with Turkey to promote the full and effective implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and the EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement

– stepping up returns from the EU,

– coordinating joint diplomatic contacts with third countries of origin and transit, in particular in South Asia and Africa.

4. Ensure efficient migration management, improve asylum procedures and support adequate reception capacity through:

– supporting Member States in providing adequate reception capacity for children and adults

– ensuring that sufficient national resources are allocated to migration management;

– accelerating the implementation of transfers of the voluntary solidarity mechanism for relocation, and

– continuing cooperation with Turkey to strengthen Turkey’s asylum and reception systems.

This Action Plan builds on existing measures addressing the use of commercial transport to facilitate irregular migration into the EU, as well as anti-smuggling projects. It also strengthens cooperation between the Commission, EU agencies (Frontex, EUAA, Europol) and Member States’ authorities in the field of migration and border management.