Migration and Home Affairs

Commission proposals: Borders Package and Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme with Turkey. Reports on Migration in Greece, Italy and the Western Balkans

The European Commission has adopted a substantial package of new measures setting out a common approach to managing Europe's external borders and preserving the security of the internal Schengen area of free movement. The Commission has also reported on progress made by Greece and Italy in implementing the Hotspot system, and the steps taken by countries on the Western Balkans' route following October's Leaders Meeting. In this context, the Commission has proposed a temporary suspension of Sweden's obligations under the EU relocation scheme. Finally, the Commission has proposed a voluntary humanitarian admission scheme with Turkey.

Today's key proposals include:

  • A Communication and Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard
  • A targeted revision of the Schengen Borders Code
  • A Progress Report on Hotspot implementation in Greece
  • A Progress Report on Hotspot implementation in Italy
  • A Progress Report on implementation of the Western Balkans Leaders' Statement
  • A Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme with Turkey
  • A Proposal to temporarily suspend Sweden's participation in the EU relocation scheme

Borders Package

The Commission is proposing to establish a European Border and Coast Guard to ensure a strong and shared management of the external borders. To further increase security for Europe's citizens, the Commission is also proposing to introduce systematic checks against relevant databases for all people entering or exiting the Schengen area.

European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "In an area of free movement without internal borders, managing Europe’s external borders must be a shared responsibility. The crisis has exposed clear weaknesses and gaps in existing mechanisms aimed at making sure that EU standards are upheld. Therefore, it is now time to move to a truly integrated system of border management. The European Border and Coast Guard will bring together a reinforced Agency, with the ability to draw on a reserve pool of people and equipment, and the Member States’ authorities, who will continue to exercise day-to-day border management. The system we propose will allow for an identification of any weaknesses in real time so that they can be remedied quickly, also improving our collective ability to deal effectively with crisis situations where a section of the external border is placed under strong pressure."

European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos added:  "The current migration and security challenges know no borders, and require a truly European approach. Where Frontex used to be limited to supporting Member States in managing their external borders, the new Border Agency will go beyond this. What we are creating today is more Europe: to manage our external borders, to step up returns of irregular migrants, to allow our asylum system to function properly for those in need and to strengthen checks at the external borders of the European Union. The Border Package we are presenting today will increase security for our citizens and ensure high standards of border management."

Progress Reports on Greece, Italy and the Western Balkans

Today the Commission has published three Progress Reports on measures to tackle the refugee and migration crisis in Italy, Greece and along the Western Balkans Route. The Reports assess progress on the hotspot system and relocation scheme in Italy and Greece and the measures in the Leaders Statement adopted after the Western Balkans Route Leaders Meeting on the 25 October.

Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme with Turkey

The European Commission has today presented a Recommendation for a voluntary humanitarian admission scheme to create a system of solidarity and responsibility sharing with Turkey for the protection of persons displaced by the conflict in Syria. The scheme should be flexible to take into account the sustainable reduction of numbers of persons irregularly crossing the border from Turkey into the European Union as a result of Turkey's actions. Member States are invited to participate in the scheme on a voluntary basis. The scheme will only apply to persons who have been registered by Turkish authorities before the EU-Turkey meeting on 29 November.

Proposal to suspend Sweden's participation in the EU Relocation Scheme

The European Commission has today proposed to grant Sweden a one-year suspension from its obligations under the EU relocation scheme, in view of the unique strain on its capacities, created by the sharp increase in applications for international protection. The number of applications have increased year-on-year by 60%, and monthly applications doubled between August and September 2015, with a further 60% increase in October 2015. The Relocation Schemes provide for the possibility to request a temporary suspension in the case of a sharp shift of migration flows creating an emergency situation.

  • IP/15/6327: A European Border and Coast Guard to protect Europe’s External Borders
  • MEMO/15/6332: Q&A: The European Border and Coast Guard
  • IP/15/6324: Implementing the European Agenda on Migration: Progress Reports on Greece, Italy and the Western Balkans
  • IP/15/6329: Commission proposes temporary suspension of Sweden’s obligations under the EU relocation mechanism
  • IP/15/6330: Commission presents Recommendation for a Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme with Turkey for refugees from Syria

Factsheets:

All proposals and reports are available in the HOME web page Securing EU borders

Tuesday, 15 December, 2015