This article elaborates on the impact of EU migration policies on African countries, taking Mali as a case study. Building upon fieldwork in the country, it argues that enhanced European involvement (EU and individual member states) has caused Mali to develop a more control-oriented dimension to its migration policy and to strengthen its links with European development actors and the Malian diaspora. While these reverberations of EU policies can be likened to what scholars have established for other African countries, Mali is unusual because of its large exposure to altered regional patterns of migration cooperation. Many of the regional refoulements and deportations end in Mali despite the fact (or, perhaps, because of the fact) that the official Malian state does little to regulate these operations. In the absence of official policy responses, civil society organizations have stepped in to provide returned migrants with basic care and reception.