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European Migration and Refugee Policy

The sharp increase of irregular immigration into Europe via the Mediterranean in 2015 has moved the issue to the very top of the European agenda. The EU’s migration and refugee policy now encompasses a large number of different instruments and agreements. The policy area is further complicated by the fact that the responsibilities and competencies within foreign, security, development and economic policy or of humanitarian actors are often not clearly delimited. On the one hand, it is a declared objective of the European Commission to realise the most comprehensive approach possible, especially with regard to cooperation with partner states that are important for migration policy. On the other hand, this carries the risk of internal EU conflicts of interest and has in the past led to contradictory priority-setting and tardy implementation, and to the current crisis in the common asylum system.