Brief considerations about the European Agenda on Migration

Brief considerations about the European Agenda on Migration

Table of contents: I. Introduction – II. Attitude of European Institutions – III. Policy objectives and future hopes – IV. Conclusion
Abstract: This Insight provides how the European Institution, in particular the European Commission, are working toward an integrated and sustainable migration policy. The result achived is not enough. The proposal is to share responsibilities between Europe and Member State: provide a common approach to safe and legal arrival in the Union, thus also protecting them from exploitation by migrant smuggling networks, help reduce the pressure of spontaneous arrivals on the Member States’ asylum systems, provide a common Union contribution to global resettlement efforts.This is complemented by practical collaboration between Member States, including through the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the European Resettlement Network. We need to wait for the programmatic lines of the new European Commission
Keyword: rule of law, immigration, resettlement, integration, law and policy in European Institution

I. Introduction

Migration is a natural process that occurs at all times and in all over the world. Recently, the situation has become particularly critical, as the continent attended a myriad of people, who moved out from their native countries. The violent conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, repressive regimes in Eritrea and Sudan, and instability and poverty in other parts of Africa or Mexico and in other countries in South America have forced millions of men to abandon their homelands in search of safety, protection and a new future.

In recent years, Europe has had to respond to the most severe migratory challenge since the end of the Second World War. The unprecedented arrival of refugees in the EU, which increased in 2015, exposed a series of deficiencies and gaps in EU policies on asylum, external borders and migration. In response to these challenges, the EU has undertaken a number of initiatives to rebuilt its asylum and migration policies based on four pillars: reducing the incentives for irregular migration, improving returns and dismantling smuggling and trafficking networks; saving lives and securing the external borders; establishing a strong EU asylum policy, and providing more legal pathways for asylum-seekers and more efficient legal channels for regular migrants.

The record migratory flows to the EU witnessed during 2015 and 2016 had subsided by the end of 2017 and 2018. According to the Commission communication to the Council and to the Parliament adopted on 06 march 2019, illegal landings decreased by 25% thanks to common initiatives that increase attention, supervision and assistance.

Human rights should be at the centre of the EU migration policy and legislators at EU level should more actively insist on a revision of the Dublin Agreement and build an asylum system based on solidarity”, thus spoke the chair of the sub-committee on human rights, Antonio Panzeri.

Europe should continue to be a safe haven for those people as well as an attractive destination for the talents, students, researchers and workers[1].

European Istitutions will continually seek to pursue solidarity both within the EU and internationally. The EU needs a migration policy that allows to take full share of responsibility for the refugee situation, and to be a generous and trustworthy actor in the international community. In particular, they fought to have a strong and better funded Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and now Member States must make full use of the resources provided under this Fund, in according with their own policies to develop meaningful integration strategies at local, regional and national level.

II. Attitude of European Institutions

European Commission believes that migrants are human beings so condemn the installation of border defence systems such as fences or razor wires, and the use of rubber bullets or tear gas against migrants, as also supported by Magdalena Ogórek, chief of the Inner Party of  Poland “Alliance of the democratic left”, in mother tongue “Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej”(SLD).

Recent events at the external borders of the European Union impose a deep reflection on European system of border control that cannot be detrimental to the fundamental rights of migrants. For this reasons the European Commission has supported the establishment of a number of ‘hotspots’ at certain sections of the external borders of the EU, providing humanitarian assistance. Let’s help to refugee thrive, not just to survive!

For all the above-mentioned reasons, the first part of this European Agenda on Migration responds to the need for swift and determined intervention to avoid human tragedy in the whole of the Mediterranean.

First of all, EU asked for the establishment of a new European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which will replace the existing Frontex agency. It is a new system by which the new agency would work together with the national border guards to comprise a European Border and Coast Guard under shared responsibility.

Migration management support teams invoked by a Member State includes the redistribution of asylum seekers among the States of European Union according to the following system: each one should admit a number of regular migrants proportional to the gross domestic product (GDP). In this way, migrants must become full member of society, having the prospective of attaining citizenship. In order to ensure integration of migrants into the social and economic life of the host country, measures need to be taken at national, regional and local level to ensure free and equal access to public education and training[2].

The Commission shall, in cooperation with the host Member State and the relevant agencies, establish the terms of cooperation at the hotspot area and be responsible for the coordination of the activities of the migration management support teams. The executive director, in coordination with other relevant Union agencies, shall define a projection of various activities to define the relevant policy objectives, for example to make the program work. Immigration reform will be successful if European companies support its passage and enforcement.

The Agency’s staff in the framework of the migration management support teams must act as fellows: a) proceed with the biometric identification (fingerprints, retina scans, etc.), registration through the fingerprinting of third-country nationals; b) temporay accommodation in pending the redistribution of asylum seekers among the Member States; c) technical and specific assistance during this phase, including the preparation and organisation of return operations for illegal migrants[3].

Migration management support teams is composed by expertise, also in child protection, trafficking in human beings, protection against gender-based persecution and fundamental rights.

III. Policy objectives and future hopes

Member States are responsible for applying the Dublin system. In particular, in the new system, European States should allocate the resources needed in order to increase the number of transfers and cut delays, allowing them to examine an asylum application and relieve the pressure on the frontline Member States. At Union level, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) will support Member States by establishing a dedicated network of national Dublin Units.

We need to create a strategic partnership between our two continents that allows us to better fight human traffickers, create routes for safe, legal migration and also address the primary causes of the refugee crisis – poverty and conflict”, said Alfred Sant, the Head of the Maltese Labour Delegation at the European Parliament.

Furthermore, the criminal networks which exploit vulnerable migrants must be targeted. The High Representative/Vice President (HR/VP) has already presented a special paper about Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations to systematically identify, capture and destroy vessels used by smugglers.

Such action will be a powerful demonstration of the EU’s determination to act. More will be done to pool and better use information to identify and target smugglers[4].

By the end of May, the Commission will make a Recommendation proposing an EU-wide resettlement scheme to offer 20,000 places. This scheme will cover all Member States, with distribution criteria that can be found in the Annex, such as GDP, size of population, unemployment rate and past numbers of asylum seekers and of resettled refugees, and will take account of the efforts already made on a voluntary basis by Member States. The EU budget will provide dedicated funding of an extra EUR 50 million in 2015/2016 to support this scheme. If necessary this will be followed up with a proposal for a binding and mandatory legislative approach beyond 2016[5].

On the basis of a distribution key, the Commission will, by the end of May, propose triggering the emergency response system envisaged under Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and introduce a temporary European relocation scheme for asylum seekers who are in clear need of international protection.

The distribution key will be based on objective, quantifiable and verifiable criteria that reflect the capacity of the Member States to absorb and integrate refugees, with appropriate weighting factors. This system will be based on the following elements: a) the size of the population (40%) as it reflects the capacity to absorb a certain number of refugees; b) total GDP[6] (40%) as it reflects the absolute wealth of a country and is thus indicative for the capacity of an economy to absorb and integrate refugees; c) average number of spontaneous asylum applications and the number of resettled refugees per 1 million inhabitants over the period 2010-2014 (10%) as it reflects the efforts made by Member States in the recent past; d) unemployment rate (10%) as an indicator reflecting the capacity to integrate refugees.

More will be done to help deal with the immediate challenge faced by Member States in the frontline of migrant arrivals.

In addition, the Commission will set up a new ‘Hotspot’ approach, where the European Asylum Support Office, Frontex and Europol will work on the ground with frontline Member States to swiftly identify, register and fingerprint incoming migrants. The work of the agencies will be complementary to one another. Those claiming asylum will be immediately inserted into an asylum procedure where EASO support teams will help to process asylum cases as quickly as possible.

Second, the Commission will mobilise an additional EUR 60 million in emergency funding, including to support the reception and capacity to provide healthcare to migrants in the Member States under particular pressure.

About ‘Resettlement’ that means the transfer of individual displaced persons in clear need of international protection, on submission of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and in agreement with the country of resettlement, from a third country to a Member State, where they will be admitted and granted the right to stay and any other rights comparable to those granted to a beneficiary of international protection.

The priority regions for resettlement will include North Africa, the Middle East, and the Horn of Africa, focusing on the countries where the Regional Development and Protection Programmes are being implemented. The scheme is to establish strong links with these programmes.

The cooperation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other relevant organisations will be called upon to assist in the implementation, in line with current practice (identification, submission, transfer, etc.). Each Member State will remain responsible for individual admission decisions[7].

IV. Conclusion

In conclusion, “This is not the time to hesitate” and political authorities at the European, national, regional, and local level must act urgently to adopt the right measures to develop and strengthen international mechanisms to assist and protect refugees. Before border controls, I never relented to alert people to increase moral consciousness level.

It is crucial to stress the link between migration, discrimination and poverty and social exclusion. This is all the more necessary as recent policy developments, both at EU and at national level, appears to represent a denial of some of the most fundamental human rights of migrants[8].

The social inclusion of refugees is closely linked to their ability to access easier to quality information about employment and education opportunities, education, further training and other services. Social inclusion strategies in many countries give comparatively little consideration to preventing and fighting poverty and social exclusion among migrants.

Moreover, some countries have even reduced welfare provisions and access for migrants. This is all the more concerning in the context of the economic crisis and harsh austerity measures, especially in countries receiving external financial assistance, where migrants have been particularly affected by the financial cuts to social protection mechanisms and social services due to their initial vulnerable status[9].

Finally, from vision to action there are many contradictions. We mourn the tragic death of two year old Alan Kurdi, and yet, more than 200 children have subsequently drowned in the Mediterranean. We proclaim our liberal values, and yet  we have repressive policies. In theory, refugees have a right to a pathway to integration, or return to the country they’ve come from. But in practice, they get stuck in almost indefinite limbo.

To engage responsibly with the world, credibility is essential. The EU credibility is based on our unity, on our many achievements, and also on our policies, and adherence to our values. A stronger Union requires spending in all aspect of foreign policy, from research and climate to infrastructure and mobility, from trade and sanctions to diplomacy and development.

Everybody gets one big mistake in life and one opportunity to fix it. Our refugees system is failing. Now, as Europe, we can fix it.

[1] The migration issue, BRIEFING EU policies – Delivering for citizens, European Parliament.
[2] Communication from the Commission concerning a proposal for a Council Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purpose of paid employment and selfemployed economic activities, [COM(2001)386 final], 11 July 2001
[3] The Concord policy paper of December 2015 provides an exhaustive evaluation of recent developments in EU migration policy relating to development cooperation. According to Concord, the emphasis on border control and security undermines the achievements of the EU’s global development objectives. EU mobility partnership implementation shows that EU external migration policy is essentially used to combat irregular migration.
[4] Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European economic and social Committee and the Committee of the Regions; Brussels, 13.5.2015 COM(2015) 240 final.
[5] The Union’s common policy on asylum, immigration, visa and external border controls is based on Title V (Area of freedom, security and Justice) of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Under Protocols 21 and 22 to the Treaties, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark shall not take part in the adoption by the Council of proposed measures pursuant to Title V TFEU. The United Kingdom and Ireland may notify the Council, within three months after a proposal or initiative has been presented, or at any time after its adoption, that they wish to take part in the adoption and application of any such proposed measure. At any time Denmark may, in accordance with its constitutional requirements, notify the other Member States that it wishes to apply in full all relevant measures adopted on the basis of Title V TFEU.
[6] GDP per capita is not to be used as considerations per capita are already reflected in the criteria on the size of the population.
[7] Directorate – General for Internal Polices, Policy Departement, Citizien’s right and constitutional affair, setting up a common European Asylum system study 2010.
[8] EAPN, Migration: a question of survival, 2010
[9] Position paper on Migration, Adopted by Social Platform’s Steering Group June 13, 2013  An opportunity for the EU.

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avv. Armando Iadevaia

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