The Commission sets out way forward towards a stable and future-proof EU migration and asylum policy for the long term
Ahead of the EU leaders' thematic debate on migration to be held on 14 December, the Commission proposed today a political roadmap to reach a comprehensive agreement by June 2018 on how to pursue a sustainable migration policy.
As Europe is moving away from crisis management, the Commissions considers that an agreement on a stable and future-proof EU migration and asylum policy for the long term is needed in order to maintain the momentum an all fronts – internal and external.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Even if we are now moving away from crisis mode, it is evident that migration will remain a challenge for a generation of Europeans. Europe urgently needs to equip itself with future-proof means of managing migration responsibly and fairly. We have made solid progress in the past three years but now is the time to turn proposals into law, and law into practice."
The Commission is today recommending EU leaders take the ongoing work forward by ensuring swift progress on the reform of the EU's Common European Asylum System, further strengthening partnerships with third countries, continuing to open legal pathways to Europe and securing adequate funding for the future.
As the discussions on the Commission's proposals to overhaul the Common European Asylum System have progressed very slowly, it is essential that the European Council unblocks the debate on a more effective and fairer approach to balancing solidarity and responsibility.
The Commission also recommends that the Council looks at the Commission's proposals as a whole, and aims to endorse a revision of the Dublin regulation as part of a wider agreement on all the reforms proposed by June 2018.
In order to provide immediate assistance to Member States in protecting the external border, the EU needs to fully operationalise the new European Border and Coast Guard Agency to complete the build-up of an effective external border management system. Member States must ensure by March 2018 that all the assets and staff needed for the Agency's rapid reaction pools are ready for deployment.
According to the Commission, the external dimension of migration policy needs to be consolidated, ensuring the full implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and stronger engagement with third country partners and UN agencies.
The EU now needs to stand ready to mobilise additional resources for the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, reinforce the strategic partnership with the African Union and its Member States, deliver the first wave of projects under the EU External Investment Plan, and replenish the North Africa Window of the EU Trust Fund.
To dissuade irregular migration and break the business model of people traffickers and smugglers, the Commission considers that the EU needs to offer an alternative to perilous journeys by opening safe and legal pathways for those in genuine need of protection. This will also require Member States to resettle a further 50,000 vulnerable refugees by May 2019. At the same time, Member States need to deliver on swift and efficient return and readmission of those who have no right to stay in the EU. Member States should ensure a fully functioning return capacity within the European Border and Coast Guard Agency by May 2018 and increase by June 2018 the number of returned migrants in operations organised in cooperation with the Agency by 50% compared to 2017.
Through the joint European Union / African Union / United Nations Task Force established on 29 November 2017, Member States should support the International Organisation for Migration to accelerate returns from Libya, with an additional 15,000 assisted voluntary returns funded by the Commission to be carried out by February 2018.
7 December 2017