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The European Agenda on Migration

The document on a new agenda on EU migration published by the Commission should be considered as one of the most important documents of recent EU history regarding the establishment of a minimum common migration policy, for economic as well as for international protection reasons.

Given the extent of the migrant tragedy this year, the document stresses that the priority is to save lives and proposes immediate action in the framework of the current EU common maritime operations (TRITON, etc).

The Commission proposes two concrete measures. One is the relocation of applicants for international protection that are already in a EU Member State in order to resettle them in an EU Member State different from the one to which they arrived, in accordance with the collective principles of solidarity and responsibility. The other is resettlement as a measure for transferring applicants for international protection from third countries under heavy pressure (such as Turkey).

The Commission declares that this agenda cannot be implemented without the setting up of a transparent, efficient and constructive political framework for development cooperation.

Briefly, the document proposes 4 areas of action:

  1. Reducing irregular immigration in the EU through efficient development cooperation policies that improve the situation in the country of origin, while at the same time, intensifying at the same time the fight against human trafficking networks and promoting effective return policies.
  2. Promoting a common policy for the management of external borders through a unique regulation that ensures efficient control of the identity of people who are about to enter or try to enter the EU.
  3. Introducing a common asylum policy: this implies the evaluation of the Dublin Convention's application scope and its adaptation to the new scenarios as well as the drawing up of a list of safe countries across the EU to allow for the rapid processing of applications for international protection of persons coming from those countries.
  4. Promoting legal migration in an orderly and efficient way through the implementation of a new visa policy, the setting-up of facilities for attracting talents and, in this framework, the improvement of the conditions of highly qualified non EU workers, the modification of the blue card scheme and the facilitation of remittance transfers as well as the reduction of associated costs.

Finally, the text reaches the following conclusions:

  • a common asylum system must be established immediately;
  • a common border management policy is desirable;
  • it is necessary to lay the foundations for the creation of a new model of legal migration to the EU.

The Commission proposes to draw up a list of safe countries of origin across the EU and to include seven countries already considered as such (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYROM, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro and Turkey).

The approach of the REX 457 opinion is to consider the existence of this list as a positive step forward in the development of a common asylum policy in the EU, but that it is essential to define in the first place in a concrete and precise manner the concept of "safe country" with regard to the respect of human rights and to guarantee a correct evaluation of each specific case. Therefore, the EESC considers that at this juncture it may be premature to draw up a specific list of countries considered to be safe for these purposes.

 

José Antonio Moreno Díaz