Against the background of the limited “hard” law measures in place on external migration, the EU institutions are attempting to use a more differentiated approach to migration. This is evidenced by both the Stockholm Programme and the Global Approach to Migration (2005) which rely less on binding instruments and more on flexible, coordinated measures to meet their goals. This article discusses whether these measures can be understood as “new modes of governance” (NMG), which have only rarely been discussed insofar as the external sphere of EU governance is concerned. The article will also investigate the extent to which the initiatives are already in place, contextualising them in the broader debates on new governance and the conduct of the internal and external dimensions of the EU's system of governance. The article concludes that new modes of governance are indeed present in the external dimension of EU migration policy and that understanding them as such helps towards a better understanding of the contemporary state of policymaking at EU level.