Tuesday, October 8, 2002
Up-date on the development of a common policy on migration
Following the decision of the European Council, meeting in Tampere in October 1999, the European Union is committed to developing a common policy on migration and asylum with a view to ensuring more effective management of migration flows to the EU. This programme comprises two phases: first the establishment of a basic common legislative framework incorporating minimum standards in a number of key areas and secondly a gradual convergence of policy objectives and implementation of policy through an open coordination method of consultation between the Member States. The approach comprises action on the whole range of aspects of the migration phenomenon: both legal and illegal migration, integration of migrants, development of cooperation with third countries as well as asylum policy.
In this field the Commission is putting forward four legislative instruments to create the basic legal framework for the admission and residence of third country nationals in the EU, designed to harmonise existing national legislation. These concern the admission of family members, of people seeking employment, of students and of those seeking admission for other, non-remunerated purposes, together with proposals to create a common status for long-term resident third country nationals (see list of draft directives attached).
The proposals on family reunion were adopted by the Commission in December 1999 and revised in October 2000. Following continued difficulties in reaching agreement on the text (notably with respect to the definition of family members) the Laeken European Council of December 2002 asked the Commission to prepare a further revised version to resolve these issues. The second amended version was adopted by the Commission on 2 May 2002. A new deadline (June 2003) for the adoption by the Council of this Directive was set by the European Council at its meeting in Seville.
Admission for employment and self employment.
These proposals were adopted by the Commission in July 2001. The Directive will establish a uniform application procedure and a common legal status for migrants admitted. The Directive is based on principles of transparency, simplicity and flexibility so as to respond to the needs of the labour market. The decision on how many migrants to be admitted, if and when they are needed, for identifying the sectors where there are shortages and for the selection of qualified people remain the responsibility of the Member States. Progress on this directive has been slow and it is still in its first reading in the Council.
Status of long-term residents
The proposals were put forward in March 2001. They provide for a certain flexibility concerning movement between Member States and set out the conditions under which migrants granted this status in one country could take up residence in another. The proposals also propose a set of uniform rights they should enjoy which are as near as possible to those of EU citizens. The European Parliament has given a favourable opinion on this text on which discussions are continuing in the Council. A new deadline (June 2003) for the adoption by the Council of the Directive was set by the European Council at its meeting in Seville in June 2002.
Proposals for a European directive concerning the admission of students and of third-country nationals for non-remunerated activities are expected to be adopted by the Commission on the 7 October 2002.
Illegal Migration and Security issues
In November 2001 the Commission published a Communication on a common policy on illegal migration which sets out an overall action plan to reinforce the EU's efforts to combat these flows. It proposed action in the following areas : visa policy; information exchange, co-operation between and co-ordination of the activities of Member States' enforcement authorities; border management; police co-operation; aliens law and criminal law and return and admission policy. Following consideration of these proposals by the European Council in Laeken in December 2001, the Council adopted (on 28 February 2002) a comprehensive plan to combat illegal immigration and trafficking of human beings in the EU which is now being implemented.
As part of the continued efforts to combat smuggling and trafficking, the Commission has also made a proposal for a Council Directive on the issuing of short-term residence permits to victims of action which facilitates illegal immigration or trafficking who cooperate with the authorities trying to prevent such actions and to dismantle the networks involved.
Integration of migrants
Concerning the integration of migrants DG JAI is currently preparing proposals for preparatory actions to support the efforts of Member States in this area. The objective of the preparatory actions is to support networks and the transferral of information and good practices between Member States, regional and local authorities and other stakeholders in order to facilitate open dialogue and identify priorities for a European integration policy. The actions will support the Member States efforts in this area and at the same time complement the efforts under the existing Community Programmes addressing indirectly or directly the issue of the integration of immigrants, notably efforts to combat racism, social exclusion and other programmes financed from the European Structural Funds and projects carried out under the European Refugee Fund. It is hoped that the programme will be operational in 2003 (subject to the allocation of the necessary budgetary allocations (12 million € over 3 years).
Partnership with countries of origin
Improved dialogue with third countries is a major element of Community migration policy not only to facilitate orderly migration flows but also to fight illegal immigration more effectively and to develop new policies to mitigate the negative effects of migration on countries of origin. In this area the programme of the High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration is continuing, notably with respect to the countries for which specific action plans were developed. These activities are supported by a specific budget line for co-operation with third countries in the area of migration (B7-667) which has a budget of 12.5 Million Euro for 2002.
Migration is also an element in the CARDS programme for the Balkan States and in the EU common strategies on Russia and the Ukraine.
The Council has adopted the Commission's proposal for the establishment of a programme for administrative cooperation which includes the field of immigration (the ARGO action programme) and which has a total budget in 2002 of 3 mi
Source European Commission
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