Annual Policy Initiative 2021

Whole-of-route approaches to countering irregular migration


Where are we now and what comes next?


Addressing irregular migration is a cornerstone of effective migration management, and has long dominated the direction of the European migration agenda both in the internal and external dimensions. A post-COVID recovery period could well lead to increasing dynamics and renewed pressures on Europe’s migration infrastructure. Strong partnerships along routes and comprehensive approaches are a sine qua non to prevent, address and manage the rise and consequences of irregular migration movements. The API 2021 is thus responding to a top priority of our Member States today and anticipating that tomorrow will bring new challenges. It will focus on so-called “Whole-of-Route Approaches to Addressing Irregular Migration. Where are we now and what comes next?” 

This year’s API picks up on topics highlighted last year in relation to complex aspects of human and state security at various stages along migration routes. It departs from the recommendations of 2019 on taking a whole-of-migration-routes approach via coherent cooperation frameworks and partnerships; integrating Western Balkan countries into Europe’s migration management systems; and cooperating with partner countries in innovative and comprehensive ways. 

The API 2021 is driven by ICMPD’s Policy Unit and draws on internal expertise, research, analysis and operational experience. It aims to provide a platform for discussion and exchange among senior experts and stakeholders in member and close partner states, EU institutions, think tanks and other relevant organisations. Drawing on analysis, consultation process, meetings and eventually exchanges at the annual Vienna Migration Conference, we will publish a set of policy recommendations addressing present and future priorities of migration policy.


More information on previous API editions can be found here: 2020 & 2019