The topic of this work is the EU''s policy on irregular immigration and the external approach that characterises it. This policy is questioned, as the approach and measures that have been adopted are shown to be both ineffective in actually preventing irregular migrants from entering Europe and detrimental to the safety and human rights of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers. In examining the EU’s policy, and the factors that have shaped and formed the adopted policy, the vertical and horizontal venue-shopping theory is tested. This theoretical account argues that the underlying factors can best be understood by examining the preferences of the key policy-makers and the specific policy-venues that are provided in the EU. In order to test this account analyses are made regarding the differences between the EU’s policy and national approaches, the preferences of different actors involved in the policy-making process, and the policy-making character of measures relating to EU-cooperation with third countries. The analyses corroborate the theoretical account regarding the EU’s policy on irregular immigration and the external approach that characterises it.