A new agreement on migration is urgently needed at European level and, to this end, the EESC is ready to support the Commission's ongoing efforts. The EESC president, Luca Jahier, speaking in Brussels on 3 March 2020, made it clear that migration was a priority for the EESC, as demonstrated by the fact that the Committee had been very active in this area for many years. "The EU needs to take prompt action towards drawing up a new pact on migration and asylum, as well as working together with the Member States on integration. We need to establish a genuinely common asylum procedure that is reliable, flexible and efficient," he said.

Speaking at the debate organised by the EESC Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) on the same day, Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, highlighted the Commission's current work in the area of migration and asylum and its intention to revive EU policy-making through a new agreement. "We need a new pact on migration and asylum, first of all because the most vulnerable depend on it, and secondly because our economy and society benefit from legal migration: our welfare systems need to be sustainable in the long term and our companies need skilled people," she said.

She then pointed to the importance of increasing trust and overcoming differences between Member States, so that national governments could find a common way ahead. "We need to be clear that migration is something normal. Each year, between 2 and 2.5 million people come to the EU: 140 000 of these arrivals are irregular – the equivalent of 5%. That means 95% of people are arriving in an orderly, monitored and managed way," she maintained. (mp)