EU negotiators must oppose migration conditionality in the Generalized Scheme of Preferences

Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP

FIDH has urged the European Parliament to firmly oppose to the introduction of migration conditionality in the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) reform. The latest call came as the Parliament prepares for interinstitutional negotiations with the Council and the European Commission on Monday 12th June.

8 June 2023. FIDH’s President Alice Mogwe has written a letter to the European Parliament as interinstitutional negotiations begin to review a key EU trade tool. The current proposal would risk enforcing migration conditionality instead of advancing sustainable development goals, and to go against the fundamental values of the EU.

Since 1971, the EU has had a Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) - a preferential trade arrangement offering lower import duties to developing countries. Its purpose is to help lift countries out of poverty and improve the implementation of international human rights and environmental standards. Yet in a disturbing development, the latest proposal by the European Commission and the Council would make tariff preferences conditional on a partner country’s ability to return and readmit migrants with its nationality.

FIDH has repeatedly pointed to the illegality of the proposal under international trade law, as it was also confirmed by an independent legal opinion from the University of Amsterdam’s Law School. Back in March 2023, FIDH also joined 19 organisations for a letter to the Council of the EU, stressing how this type of conditionality defeats the purpose of the GSP and does not make sense for the protection and promotion of fundamental rights.

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