Research Handbook on the European Union and International Organizations
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Research Handbook on the European Union and International Organizations

Edited by Ramses A. Wessel and Jed Odermatt

Over the years, the European Union has developed relationships with other international institutions, mainly as a result of its increasingly active role as a global actor and the transfer of competences from the Member States to the EU. This book presents a comprehensive and critical assessment of the EU’s engagement with other international institutions, examining both the EU’s representation and cooperation as well as the influence of these bodies on the development of EU law and policy.
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Chapter 11: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Julinda Beqiraj, Jean-Pierre Gauci and Anna Khalfaoui


The chapter analyses the legal and operative framework of engagement and cooperation in the field of migration between the European Union (EU) and two organizations with a specific mandate in this area: the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Five relevant aspects are addressed: the regulatory framework for institutional cooperation; overlapping memberships; financial dependence; the implementation of EU programmes by the IOM and the UNHCR; and policy influence through advocacy. The chapter argues that the EU’s engagement with the UNHCR and the IOM provides opportunities but also carries with it reputational and legal risks, and that the Union must take all necessary measures to ensure that its partners (the UNHCR and the IOM) uphold its human rights standards when they implement programmes that are either supported or funded by the EU.

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