A European Agenda on Migration (communication)

10 Dec 2015
Adopted References: SOC/525 EESC-2015-04319-00-00-ac-tra Referral - Rapporteur: Mallia (Employers - GR I / Malta) Co-rapporteur: Pîrvulescu (Various interests - GR III / Romania) Plenary Session: 512 - 9 Dec 2015 - 10 Dec 2015 (Summary Plenary Session) OJ C 71, 24.2.2016, p. 46–52
Communication from the Commission to the European parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - A European Agenda on Migration

EESC opinion: A European Agenda on Migration (communication)

Key points

  • The EESC welcomes the Commission's "European Agenda on Migration" and encourages the Member States to collectively support the implementation of this Agenda.
  • The immediate challenge for the EU is to ensure that people seeking international protection are treated properly. The EESC supports the immediate setting up of 'hotspots' to support countries faced with a large influx of migrants and insists they are given the necessary resources and support.
  • The EESC believes the EU has to establish a truly European asylum system based on harmonised procedures, including mutual recognition of asylum decisions and a revised Dublin Regulation.
  • The EU must have a transparent, predictable and just immigration policy in place to address challenges posed by its ageing population and a growing skills shortage.
  • The cost of non-integration greatly exceeds the cost of integration. Social partners, local authorities and civil society must play an essential role in building robust integration systems.
  • A European effort to secure external borders may entail sharing national competences.
  • It is necessary to enforce cooperation in the field of readmission to ensure an effective and timely implementation of the Return Directive.
  • Funding and support for civil society organisations dealing with the migration crisis should increase.
  • The expenditure incurred by the Member States in connection with the reception and integration of asylum-seekers and refugees should not be included in the calculation of structural budget deficits.

Background

On 13 May, the European Commission presented a European Agenda on Migration outlining the immediate measures that will be taken in order to respond to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean as well as the steps to be taken in the coming years to better manage migration in all its aspects.

The concrete and immediate actions that will be taken include:

  • Tripling the capacities and assets for the Frontex joint operations in 2015 and 2016;
  • 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;
  • Proposing  an EU-wide resettlement scheme to offer 20 000 places distributed in all Member States with a dedicated extra funding of €50 million for 2015 and 2016;
  • A possible Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operation to dismantle traffickers' networks and fight smuggling of people, in accordance with international law.

The medium-term initiatives of the new Agenda on Migration are grouped in four pillars:

  • Reducing the incentives for irregular migration;
  • Border management – saving lives and securing external borders;
  • Strengthening the common asylum policy to ensure a full and coherent implementation of the Common European Asylum System;
  • A new policy on legal migration, aiming to maintain a Europe in demographic decline as an attractive destination for migrants.