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Juncker speech on the European Union: immigration, the main preoccupation

The 12th of September 2018, Jean Claude Juncker will probably make his last speech on EU assessment and results, and the immigration policy will be at the heart of his speech. This is a chance to draw up a report on a topic that has weakened the EU since the 2015 crisis.

The immigration policy is seen by many as unsatisfactory. Indeed, to cope with the crisis, the EU member states had agreed in September 2015 on a migrant resettlement action plan in order for the Dublin Regulation not to burden upon countries such as Greece or Italy. Indeed, the regulation stated that the first welcoming country is the one to take in charge the management and integration of people arriving on their territory. Three years later, out of the 160,000 migrants who should have been relocated (number reduced to 100,000 after the EU-Turkey refugee agreement signed in mars 2016) only 46,000 benefitted from the policy. The agreement concluded with Turkey in March 2016 established that in exchange for a 6 billion euro of financial support and the reestablishment of the visas for the Turkish citizens, the Turkish government would open its borders to every person arrived illegally in Greece. This was perceived as a true humanitarian failure and denounced by the UN.             An immigration policy damaged by the rise of xenophobia and Euroscepticism that weakens European identity. The task is also made difficult by the Visegrad group; Poland and Hungary having refused to welcome any asylum seeker in the scope of the quota system. However, some countries such as Malta, Norway or Liechtenstein take the opposing view and have successfully applied the quota policy and reached the targets given by the EU.   So, what European initiatives for the future? As far as legislative measures are concerned, the role of Frontex agency, European border guard and coast guard services have been reinforced. Despite EU efforts, it is hard to imagine that the reinforcement of this agency only will solve the questions raised by immigration since many criticisms have already been made by the countries of southern Europe, for which giving up some sovereign competencies is not conceivable.             Despite the prevailing Euroscepticism, citizens mobilise thanks to the development of solidarity projects such as the “mentor power” project that has permitted the creation of a partnership between local inhabitants and young migrants to promote the integration and social inclusion of these youngsters. This project launched in 2015 was made possible thanks to the support of the Erasmus+ programme. Hopefully, this kind of initiative will be perpetuated.


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