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EU ‘take-back’ agreements with African countries

CEPS Conference Room
Place du Congrès 1 - 1000 Brussels

Participation in this event is exceptionally free of charge.


EU ‘take-back’ agreements with African countries

A promising tool to curb irregular migration?


The number of migrants entering the EU irregularly via the Central Mediterranean route has seen a constant increase over the past decade. In the first half of 2017, Italy alone received more than 80,000 irregular migrants, mainly from African countries. The vast majority of these migrants do not qualify for asylum in Italy or elsewhere in the EU. At the same time, efforts to return rejected asylum applicants to their countries of origin for readmission have been plagued with difficulties. In particular, the unwillingness of African countries to accept their citizens back has led large pools of rejected asylum seekers in the EU who are no longer welcome in their countries of origin.

This seminar will consider the merits of two proposals put forward by migration experts to better manage these migration flows across the Mediterranean. First, the proposals emphasise the need to open up more legal pathways to the EU in order to provide alternatives to the perilous Central Mediterranean route. Second, they insist that a sustainable EU asylum system needs to provide stronger motivations to countries of origin to induce them to take back rejected asylum seekers.

Gerald Knaus, Chairman of the European Stability Initiative and architect of the EU-Turkey agreement, will present concrete ideas on how these two approaches can be combined to form effective EU ‘take-back’ agreements with African countries. An expert EU policymaker will then discuss the feasibility and challenges to Knaus’ proposals.

Please click here for full agenda.

Registration from 16:30 – Meeting from 17:00 to 18:30

Speakers list


Gerald Knaus

Founding Chairman, European Stability Initiative (ESI)