EU external migration policy is contentious in relations with its southern neighbours. Policy convergence and differentiation are unlikely outcomes in this setting. Against long odds, two-sided policy convergence occurs with considerable scope for differentiation. Specifically, the analysis of EU policy objectives and implementation in Morocco shows the importance of externalities of European integration for achieving cooperation and ownership over projects. However, the EU's ability to pursue its restrictive policy objectives is affected by relations between individual member and non-member states, intra-EU coordination problems and domestic political structures in its partner countries. The resulting differentiation processes bring about a la carte cooperation as an unintended consequence of EU initiatives on migration.