This article focuses on the negotiations that the European Commission, with the formal support of France, Italy and Spain, opened with Senegal in 2008 for a mobility partnership agreement. Mobility partnerships, as defined by the Commission in 2007, are a new EU (multilateral) instrument for managing migratory flows into the Union. The negotiations with Senegal were indefinitely suspended in 2009 and are now widely considered as having failed. This article sets out to identify the factors that contributed to the suspension of talks. It shows that failure can be attributed to a complex web of factors originating in the specific Senegalese, European and Senegal-EU political landscapes and jointly contributing to an unfavourable cost-benefit calculation by the French and Senegalese parties to the negotiation, to an unclear and awkward negotiating strategy on the part of the European Commission and to incoherent, EU and Senegalese, foreign policies. This, in turn, points to the complex task of concluding multilateral agreements on issues as politically sensitive, for both parties, as migration.
Circular migration; EU; external dimension; mobility partnership; Senegal
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