Cooperation with migrants’ countries of origin is an important tool for the EU to control its external borders and to fight illegal and irregular migration into the EU. In this vein, cooperation on migration management with third states has become a cornerstone of the external dimension of the EU’s Justice, Liberty and Security (JLS) policies (Lavenex 2004). The Eastern neighborhood in general, and Georgia and Armenia in particular, are no exception in this regard. The EU has inter alia sought to make them readmit and integrate migrants that the EU seeks to return, control their national borders more effectively and issue travel documents that are better protected against fraud. As shown in the previous chapter, migration in the post-Soviet space and its management have yet been much more linked to Russia – the region’s ‘migration magnet’ – than to the EU, due to visa-free regimes, language skills or other institutional arrangements that facilitate migration (Brunarska et al. 2014: 135f.). Even though the EU and Russia do not diverge, but converge with regard to the policies they promote in the overarching area of JLS, Chapter 3 showed that compliance with EU demands was relatively weak, varied over time, as well as between Georgia and Armenia, especially with regard to migration management. While Georgia remained a laggard in this area until late 2009, Armenia had already been busily engaged inter alia in concluding bilateral readmission agreements with EU members. Georgia then started very slowly to catch up and eventually progressed with greater pace on migration management reform from 2012 onward. This chapter explains why the EU has been so unevenly successful in

making Georgia and Armenia reform their migration management systems under these conditions. In order to do so, it draws on the findings of Chapter 3 and studies the interplay of agency-related factors, namely preferential fit, multiple capacity building, and multiple external incentives in the process of adopting and implementing migration management policies in Georgia and Armenia. The chapter begins by describing the initial differences between specific EU

demands and the migration management in both countries. It outlines the incompatibilities or the misfit between EU demands and the countries’ initial status quo of policies, polities and politics, to show that differences in compliance patterns are not simply the result of varying adaptation needs. The

chapter then goes on to trace the process of adoption and implementation of specific EU demands in this area, namely the conclusion of readmission agreements, the enhancement of document security, the passage of national action plans on migration and asylum, and the adoption of data protection legislation.