Managing migration better in all aspects: European Agenda on Migration

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Managing migration better in all aspects: European Agenda on MigrationThe European Commission has today presented a European Agenda on Migration and adopted a set of country-specific economic policy recommendations.

Thousands of migrants have been putting their lives in peril to cross the Mediterranean and it has become clear that no Member State can effectively address migration alone.

This Agenda thus seeks to provide a European response, using all policies and tools at our disposal by combining internal and external policies and by involving all actors: Member States, EU institutions, International Organisations, civil society, local authorities and third countries.

There is political consensus in the European Parliament and the European Council following the recent tragedies in the Mediterranean to step up EU efforts and take immediate action.

The Commission has set out the concrete and immediate actions it will take, including tripling Frontex capacities, measures for emergency relocations, an EU-wide resettlement scheme, and a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operation in the Mediterranean to capture and destroy boats. For more information please see the press release and memo.

The College of Commissioners also adopted country-specific economic policy recommendations for 2015 and 2016 asking for national actions to create jobs and stimulate growth.

These recommendations reflect the Commission’s economic and social agenda. Since President Juncker’s Commission took office in November 2014 and published its Annual Growth Survey 2015, this agenda has focused on three mutually reinforcing pillars: boosting investment, implementing structural reforms and pursuing fiscal responsibility.

The successful implementation of the 2015 country-specific recommendations will be key to making Europe’s return to jobs and growth sustainable and less dependent on the external, cyclical factors that currently support the recovery.

The Commission said that, “there is political consensus in the European Parliament and the European Council following the recent tragedies in the Mediterranean to mobilise all efforts and tools at our disposal to take immediate action to prevent more people from dying at sea.”

Today the Commission has set out the concrete and immediate actions it will take, including:

Tripling the capacities and assets for the Frontex joint operations Triton and Poseidon in 2015 and 2016. An amending budget for 2015 was adopted today to secure the necessary funds – a total of €89 million, including €57 million in AMIF and €5 million in ISF emergency funding for frontline Member States – and the new Triton Operational Plan will be presented by the end of May;

Proposing the first ever activation of the emergency mechanism to help Member states confronted with a sudden influx of migrants under Article 78(3) TFEU. By the end of May, the Commission will propose a temporary distribution mechanism for persons in clear need of international protection within the EU. A proposal for a permanent EU system for relocation in emergency situations of mass influxes will follow by the end of 2015;

Proposing, by the end of May, an EU-wide resettlement scheme to offer 20 000 places distributed in all Member States to displaced persons in clear need of international protection in Europe with a dedicated extra funding of €50 million for 2015 and 2016;

Working on a possible Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operation in the Mediterranean to dismantle traffickers’ networks and fight smuggling of people, in accordance with international law.

The Way Forward: Four pillars to manage migration better

The migration crisis in the Mediterranean has put the spotlight on immediate needs. But it has also revealed that our collective EU migration policy has fallen short. Looking forward, the European Agenda on Migration develops President Juncker’s Political Guidelines into a set of mutually coherent and reinforcing initiatives, based around four pillars, to manage migration better in all its aspects, the Commission said.

The four pillars of the new Agenda on Migration are:

Reducing the incentives for irregular migration, notably by seconding European migration liaison officers to EU Delegations in key third countries; amending the Frontex legal basis to strengthen its role on return; a new action plan with measures that aim to transform people smuggling into high risk, low return criminal activity and addressing the root causes through development cooperation and humanitarian assistance;

Border management – saving lives and securing external borders, notably by strengthening the role and capacity of Frontex; helping strengthen the capacity of third countries to manage their borders; pooling further, where necessary, certain coast guard functions at EU level;

Europe’s duty to protect: a strong common asylum policy: The priority is to ensure a full and coherent implementation of the Common European Asylum System, notably by promoting systematic identification and fingerprinting and with efforts to reduce its abuses by strengthening the Safe Country of Origin provisions of the Asylum Procedure Directive; evaluating and possibly revising the Dublin Regulation in 2016;

A new policy on legal migration: The focus is on maintaining a Europe in demographic decline as an attractive destination for migrants, notably by modernising and overhauling the Blue Card scheme, by reprioritising our integration policies, and by maximising the benefits of migration policy to individuals and countries of origin, including by facilitating cheaper, faster and safer remittance transfers.

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