Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament - Tracking method for monitoring the implementation of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum
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[pic] | COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES |
COM(2009) 266 final
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Tracking method for monitoring the implementation of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Tracking method for monitoring the implementation of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum
The European Pact on Immigration and Asylum was adopted by the European Council of 15-16 October 2008, following the Commission’s Communication of June 2008 “A Common Immigration Policy for Europe: Principles, actions and tools”. Building on the progress already achieved over 10 years, the Pact is a further stepping-stone towards a comprehensive EU migration policy. The European Council makes five basic commitments, which will continue to be developed and transposed into concrete measures in particular in the programme to follow on from the Hague Programme:
- to organise legal immigration to take account of the priorities, needs and reception capacities determined by each Member State, and to encourage integration;
- to control illegal immigration by ensuring that illegal immigrants return to their countries of origin or to a country of transit;
- to make border controls more effective;
- to construct a Europe of asylum;
- to create a comprehensive partnership with the countries of origin and of transit in order to encourage the synergy between migration and development.
When adopting the Pact, the European Council decided to hold an annual debate on immigration and asylum policies. This annual debate will enable the European Council to monitor implementation, by both the European Union and the Member States, of the Pact and of the next multi-annual programme on freedom, security and justice that will from 2010 follow on from the Hague Programme.
As regards this debate, in the Pact itself the European Council:
- invited the Commission to present a report to the Council each year, based on Member States' contributions and accompanied, as necessary, by proposals for recommendations on the implementation, by both the European Union and the Member States, of this Pact and of the programme that will follow on from the Hague Programme;
- stated that the debate will also enable the European Council to be kept informed of the most significant developments planned by each Member State in conducting its immigration and asylum policy.
To prepare for the debate, the European Council invited the Commission to propose a tracking method to the Council. This Communication responds to that request.
The purpose of the tracking method as described in this Communication is to prepare for the European Council’s first annual debate which will be held in June 2010.
The tracking method will be the process by which the Commission will prepare an annual report to the Council (hereafter, “the Commission’s annual report”) using contributions from Member States and factual information from various sources in the manner and according to the timing indicated below.
2. THE COMMISSION’S ANNUAL REPORT (“OUTPUT”)
GIVEN THE NATURE OF THE ANNUAL DEBATE AS DESCRIBED IN THE PACT, THE COMMISSION’S annual report will consist of two parts:
- a short summary political report highlighting the main developments over the reporting period and the most significant developments planned, at both EU and Member State levels, and any recommendations suggested by the Commission;
- a longer and more detailed report indicating the main action taken, and the most significant developments planned, at EU level and at Member State level for each of the commitments made in the Pact.
As from 2011 the tracking method should be extended to cover commitments made under the programme that will follow on from the Hague Programme and under its accompanying Action Plan. Furthermore, the tracking method will be refined and further developed in the light of experience and the common methodology proposed in the Commission’s Communication of June 2008 “A Common Immigration Policy for Europe: Principles, actions and tools”. In particular, the commitments made in the Pact and in the successor programme to the Hague Programme could as appropriate be translated into common objectives and indicators in order to enhance the comparability of action taken and to ensure transparency and mutual trust. Any new commitments agreed by the European Council would also need to be included.
3. SOURCES OF INFORMATION FOR THE COMMISSION’S ANNUAL REPORT (“INPUT”)
The information required for the tracking method will either need to be provided by Member States or will be available directly to the Commission through mechanisms that have been developed as part of the EU’s migration policy.
3.1. Information to be provided by Member States
Identification of the main actions undertaken, and the most significant developments planned, at Member State level will require input from the Member States. The European Pact recognises this when stating that the Commission’s annual report should be based on Member States’ contributions. Consequently, the competent authorities in the Member States should provide an annual contribution consisting of a short “political” report and factual information. Member States will be asked to use a common structure for these contributions. For the Commission’s report in 2010, the common structure is based on the commitments made in the Pact and is attached as an Annex. In order to increase the comparability of the national contributions, the Commission will provide further guidance in September 2009 in a formal request to Member States.
The effects on migration flows of the current economic crisis will have started to be felt in 2009. However, as described in the next section, the harmonised Community statistics for 2009 will not be available (other than for the asylum area) in time to be taken account of in the Commission’s annual report in 2010. The Commission will therefore as indicated in the Annex request Member State to provide, if available, appropriate data for the first part of 2009. Such data will not be collected according to harmonised standards and will therefore not be comparable; the data may however be able to indicate trends.
Member States’ contributions should meet the needs of the tracking process while not imposing reporting burdens that are excessive or lead to duplication of work. In this respect, Member States, when providing their annual contribution could, if they consider it appropriate in order to avoid duplication of work, refer to factual information in the annual policy report of the relevant National Contact Point of the European Migration Network. Those reports are among the several sources of information from Member States that are directly available to the Commission and that are considered in the next section.
3.2. Information available to the Commission
As regards statistical data , the Statistics Regulation (862/2007) provides for the collection of harmonised and comparable Community statistics on migration and asylum, and related procedures and processes. Under the Regulation, Member States are to provide to the Commission (Eurostat) data according to different timetables depending on the type of date in question; certain data on asylum is to be provided sooner than data on migration. The resulting data released by the Commission (Eurostat), which are already used for other reports such as European Migration Network’s statistical reports, will be a key source of information for the tracking method.
In relation to asylum, the Commission’s annual report will be able to refer to data on asylum applications and first instance decisions that are relatively up to date; the report in 2010 will be able to include such data for at least the first three quarters of 2009. Although 2009 annual data on final asylum decisions will not be available for the Commission’s 2010 report, they will however be made available by the Commission (Eurostat) before the annual debate at the European Council in June 2010.
Other migration statistics for 2009 will unfortunately not yet be available to be taken into account in the Commission’s 2010 report. However, the 2009 annual data that under the Regulation are to be provided by Member States to the Commission (Eurostat) within three months of the end of the year (which include data on illegal entry and stay, and on returns) will be made available by the Commission (Eurostat) before the annual debate at the European Council.
Source of information on legislative and policy developments include in particular:
1. Annual policy reports from the European Migration Network (EMN). The EMN’s aim is to meet the information needs of Community institutions and national authorities by providing up-to-date, objective, reliable and comparable information on migration and asylum, with a view to supporting policymaking in the EU. Each National Contact Point (NCP) is required to provide each year a report describing the migration and asylum situation in the Member State in question, which should include policy developments. The Commission will call on the EMN to re-examine the specifications for and the timing of its annual policy reports in order to make them more useful for the tracking method.
2. Information provided by Member States in the context of implementing the four funds of the General programme ‘Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows’: the European Refugee Fund, the External Borders Fund, the European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals, and the European Return Fund.
3. The mutual information mechanism (MIM) concerning Member States’ measures in the areas of asylum and immigration: this is a channel for exchanging information and views on national asylum and immigration measures that are likely to have a significant impact on several Member States or on the EU as a whole.
4. Existing reports prepared by the Commission, such as the annual report on illegal immigration and reports on labour market developments.
5. Reports from agencies (in particular Frontex) and bodies (for example Cirefi). There will be limits to the use of some sources of information as the Commission’s annual report will be a public document and will therefore be based only on publicly accessible information.
6. Information obtained in the context of implementing the Common Agenda for Integration (e.g. information from National Contact Points for Integration, Handbooks on Integration, European Web Site on Integration).
7. Transposition information from external studies, Commission reports and infringement procedures.
There are also further sources of information that could be taken into account, including work undertaken in international forums such as the OECD and research projects, particularly those funded under Community research programmes.
4. PROCESS AND TIMING
Indicative timetable for the 2010 annual report from the Commission:
Date | Member States | Commission |
early September 2009 | Formal request to Member States to provide contribution. |
from November | To start preparing the annual report as regards implementation at EU level. |
mid-November | Member States to provide contribution on implementation at national level. |
mid-January 2010 | Member States to update their contribution, if necessary. |
mid-April | To adopt and present the annual report. |
April to mid-June | Preparatory discussions in the Council. |
3rd week June | Annual debate at the European Council meeting. |
July, September | Review and evaluate the process and propose improvements for the following cycle. |
The annual review and evaluation should make for gradual improvement of the process. A first important step towards developing the tracking method will be to include the programme that follows on from the Hague Programme. The method will also be able to benefit from new reporting mechanisms, in particular the annual reports on the situation of asylum in the EU that the Commission has proposed be drawn up by the future European Asylum Support Office.
In addition, other existing reporting duties of the Commission, in particular the reports on illegal immigration and the information transmitted under the MIM, should in due course be brought to an end, and the respective information provided instead in the Commission’s annual report on the implementation of the Pact.
The tracking method will add a structured annual cycle of reporting and high-level political debate to the area of immigration and asylum. The annual report will be a key political statement from the Commission on policies on immigration and asylum implemented at EU and national levels. Holding an annual debate in the European Council signals that immigration and asylum are major political issues of European integration. The process will thus ensure that the new impetus of the European Pact and of the future multi-annual programme on freedom, security and justice is maintained, and that the EU’s common immigration and asylum policy will continue to be developed taking account of the specific needs of each Member State and in the common interest of the European Union.
Annex: COMMON STRUCTURE FOR MEMBER STATES’ CONTRIBUTIONS
I. SHORT “POLITICAL” REPORT
In relation to the five policy areas of the Pact, please summarise what is your Member State’s political assessment of progress since the Pact was adopted in October 2008.
I. Legal immigration – integration
Main commitment: Organise legal immigration to take account of the priorities, needs and reception capacities determined by each Member State, and to encourage integration
II. Illegal immigration
Main commitment: Control illegal immigration in particular by ensuring that illegal immigrants return to their countries of origin or to a transit country
III. Border Control
Main commitment: Make border controls more effective
Main commitment: Construct a Europe of asylum
V. Global Approach to migration
Main commitment: Create a comprehensive partnership with the countries of origin and of transit to encourage the synergy between migration and development
II. FACTUAL INFORMATION
The Commission will identify the main actions undertaken at the EU level. Member States should use the table below to report on the main actions undertaken, and those planned, at the national level. The commitments set out below are copied from the European Pact.
Commitment | Main actions undertaken at Member State level | Most significant developments planned at Member State level |
I. Legal immigration – integration |
Main commitment: Organise legal immigration to take account of the priorities, needs and reception capacities determined by each Member State, and to encourage integration |
(a) to invite Member States and the Commission to implement policies for labour migration, with due regard to the acquis communautaire and Community preference, bearing in mind potential human resources within the EU, and using the most appropriate resources, which take account of all the needs of the labour market of each Member State, pursuant to the conclusions of the European Council of 13 and 14 March 2008; | Please also report on how your national labour migration legislation and/or policy has been affected by the economic crisis. Please provide, if available, data and trends for labour migration in the first part of 2009. |
(b) to increase the attractiveness of the EU for highly qualified workers | Please also report on how your national legislation and/or policies for the entry of highly qualified workers have been affected by the economic crisis. Please provide, if available, data and trends for highly qualified workers in the first part of 2009. |
and take new measures to further facilitate the reception of students and researchers and their movement within the EU; | Please also report on how your national legislation and/or policies for the entry of students and researchers have been affected by the economic crisis. Please provide, if available, data and trends for students and researchers in the first part of 2009. |
(c) to ensure, in encouraging temporary or circular migration, pursuant to the conclusions of the European Council of 14 December 2007, that those policies do not aggravate the brain drain; |
(d) to regulate family migration more effectively by inviting each Member State, in compliance with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to take into consideration in its national legislation, except for certain specific categories, its own reception capacities and families' capacity to integrate, as evaluated by their resources and accommodation in the country of destination and, for example, their knowledge of that country's language; |
(e) to strengthen mutual information on migration by improving existing instruments where necessary; |
(f) to improve information on the possibilities and conditions of legal migration, particularly by putting in place the instruments needed for that purpose as soon as possible; | Please also report on whether you have changed your information policies as a result of the economic crisis. |
(g) to invite Member States, in line with the common principles approved by the Council in 2004, to establish ambitious policies, in a manner and with resources that they deem appropriate, to promote the harmonious integration in their host countries of immigrants who are likely to settle permanently; | Please also report on whether you have changed your integration policies as a result of the economic crisis. |
those policies, the implementation of which will call for a genuine effort on the part of the host countries, should be based on a balance between migrants' rights (in particular to education, work, security, and public and social services) and duties (compliance with the host country's laws). |
They will include specific measures to promote language-learning and access to employment, essential factors for integration; |
they will stress respect for the identities of the Member States and the EU and for their fundamental values, such as human rights, freedom of opinion, democracy, tolerance, equality between men and women, and the compulsory schooling of children. |
The European Council also calls upon the Member States to take into account, by means of appropriate measures, the need to combat any forms of discrimination to which migrants may be exposed; |
(h) to promote information exchange on best practice implemented, in line with the common principles approved by the Council in 2004, in terms of reception and integration, and on EU measures to support national integration policies. |
II. Illegal immigration |
Main commitment: Control illegal immigration in particular by ensuring that illegal immigrants return to their countries of origin or to a transit country |
(a) to use only case-by-case regularisation, rather than generalised regularisation, under national law, for humanitarian or economic reasons; | Please also report on whether you have changed your policies on regularisation as a result of the economic crisis. |
(b) to conclude readmission agreements at EU or bilateral level with those countries with which this is necessary, so that each Member State has the legal instruments to ensure that illegal immigrants are expelled; | Please report on bilateral agreements that you have concluded. |
the effectiveness of EU readmission agreements will be evaluated; |
negotiating directives that have not succeeded should be reviewed; |
Member States and the Commission will consult closely when future EU readmission agreements are negotiated; |
(c) to ensure that the risks of irregular migration are prevented within the framework of the modalities of the policies for the entry and residence of third-country nationals or, where appropriate, other policies, including the modalities of the framework for freedom of movement; |
(d) to develop cooperation between Member States, using, on a voluntary basis and where necessary, common arrangements to ensure the expulsion of illegal immigrants (biometric identification of illegal entrants, joint flights, etc.); |
(e) to step up cooperation with the countries of origin and of transit, under the Global Approach to Migration, in order to control illegal immigration, in particular to follow with them an ambitious policy on police and judicial cooperation to combat international criminal organisations engaged in trafficking migrants and in human trafficking, |
and to provide better information to communities under threat so as to avoid the tragedies that can occur, particularly at sea; |
(f) to invite Member States, specifically with the support of Community instruments, to devise incentive systems to assist voluntary return | Please also report on whether your policy on voluntary return has been affected by the economic crisis. |
and to keep each other informed on this point in order to prevent the fraudulent return to the EU of those who receive such aid; |
(g) to invite Member States to take rigorous action, also in the interest of the immigrants, by way of dissuasive and proportionate penalties against those who exploit illegal immigrants (employers, etc.); |
(h) to put into full effect the Community provisions pursuant to which an expulsion decision taken by one Member State is applicable throughout the EU, and, within that framework, an alert for such a decision entered in the Schengen Information System (SIS) obliges other Member States to prevent the person concerned from entering or residing within their territory. |
III. Border Control |
Main commitment: Make border controls more effective |
(a) invite Member States and the Commission to mobilise all their available resources to ensure more effective control of the external land, sea and air borders; |
(b) generalise the issue of biometric visas as from 1 January 2012 at the latest, as a result of the Visa Information System (VIS), |
immediately improve cooperation between Member States' consulates, |
pool resources as far as possible and gradually set up, on a voluntary basis, joint consular services for visas; |
(c) give the Frontex agency, with due regard for the role and responsibilities of the Member States, the resources to fulfil its mission of coordinating the control of the external border of the European Union, to cope with crisis situations and to undertake, at the request of Member States, any necessary operations, whether temporary or permanent, in accordance, in particular, with the Council conclusions of 5 and 6 June 2008. |
In the light of the results of an evaluation of the agency, its role and operational resources will be strengthened and a decision may be taken to create specialised offices to take account of the diversity of situations, particularly for the land border to the East and the sea border to the South: creating such offices should on no account undermine the unity of the Frontex agency. |
Ultimately, the possibility of setting up a European system of border guards may be examined; |
(d) give fuller consideration, in a spirit of solidarity, to the difficulties of those Member States subjected to disproportionate influxes of immigrants and, to that end, invite the Commission to submit proposals; |
(e) deploy modern technological means to ensure that systems are interoperable and to enable the effective integrated management of the external border, in line with the conclusions of the European Council on 19 and 20 June 2008 and of the Council on 5 and 6 June 2008. |
From 2012, depending on the Commission's proposals, the focus should be on establishing electronic recording of entry and exit, together with a fast-track procedure for European citizens and other travellers; |
(f) intensify cooperation with the countries of origin and of transit in order to strengthen control of the external border and to combat illegal immigration by increasing the European Union's aid for the training and equipping of those countries' staff responsible for managing migration flows; |
(g) improve the modalities and frequency of the Schengen evaluation process in accordance with the Council conclusions of 5 and 6 June 2008. |
IV. Asylum |
Main commitment: Construct a Europe of asylum |
(a) establish in 2009 a European support office with the task of facilitating the exchange of information, analyses and experience among Member States, and developing practical cooperation between the administrations in charge of examining asylum applications. That office will not have the power to examine applications or to take decisions but will use the shared knowledge of countries of origin to help to bring national practices, procedures, and consequently decisions, into line with one another; |
(b) invite the Commission to present proposals for establishing, in 2010 if possible and in 2012 at the latest, a single asylum procedure comprising common guarantees and for adopting a uniform status for refugees and the beneficiaries of subsidiary protection; |
(c) establish procedures, in the case of crisis in a Member State faced with a massive influx of asylum-seekers, to enable the secondment of officials from other Member States to help that State and the demonstration of effective solidarity with that State by mobilising existing EU programmes more rapidly. |
For those Member States which are faced with specific and disproportionate pressures on their national asylum systems, due in particular to their geographical or demographic situation, solidarity shall also aim to promote, on a voluntary and coordinated basis, better reallocation of beneficiaries of international protection from such Member States to others, while ensuring that asylum systems are not abused. In accordance with those principles, the Commission, in consultation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees where appropriate, will facilitate such voluntary and coordinated reallocation. |
Specific funding under existing EU financial instruments should be provided for this reallocation, in accordance with budgetary procedures; |
(d) strengthen cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure better protection for people outside the territory of EU Member States who request protection, in particular by: moving, on a voluntary basis, towards the resettlement within the EU of people placed under the protection of the Office of the UNHCR, particularly as part of regional protection programmes; |
inviting the Commission, in liaison with the Office of the UNHCR, to present proposals for cooperation with third countries in order to strengthen the capacities of their protection systems; |
(e) invite the Member States to provide the personnel responsible for external border controls with training in the rights and obligations pertaining to international protection. |
V. Global Approach to migration |
Main commitment: Create a comprehensive partnership with the countries of origin and of transit to encourage the synergy between migration and development |
(a) conclude EU-level or bilateral agreements with the countries of origin and of transit containing, as appropriate, clauses on the opportunities for legal migration adapted to the labour market situation in the Member States, the control of illegal immigration, readmission, and the development of the countries of origin and of transit; |
the European Council invites the Member States and the Commission to inform and consult each other on the objectives and limits of such bilateral agreements, and on readmission agreements; |
(b) encourage Member States, as far as they are able, to offer the nationals of partner countries to the East and South of Europe opportunities for legal immigration adapted to the labour market situation in Member States, enabling those nationals to acquire training or professional experience and accumulate savings that they can use for the benefit of their home countries. |
The European Council invites Member States to encourage in this context forms of temporary or circular migration, in order to prevent a brain drain; |
(c) pursue policies of cooperation with the countries of origin and of transit in order to deter or prevent illegal immigration, in particular by capacity-building in those countries; |
(d) integrate migration and development policies more effectively by examining how such policies may benefit the regions of origin of immigration, in coherence with other aspects of development policy and the Millennium Development Goals. |
The European Council invites Member States and the Commission in this context to focus, within the sectoral priorities identified with the partner countries, on solidarity development projects that raise the living standards of citizens, for example in the areas of nutrition, health care, education, vocational training and employment; |
(e) promote co-development actions that enable migrants to take part in the development of their home countries. |
The European Council recommends that Member States support the adoption of specific financial instruments for transferring migrants' remittances securely and more cheaply to their countries for the purposes of investment and welfare insurance; |
(f) firmly implement the partnership between the EU and Africa agreed in Lisbon in December 2007, the conclusions of the first Euro-Mediterranean ministerial meeting on migration held in Albufeira in November 2007 and the Rabat action plan and to that end call on the second Euro-African ministerial conference on migration and development in Paris in autumn 2008 to decide on practical measures; |
develop, in accordance with its conclusions of June 2007, the Global Approach to Migration to the East and South-east of Europe, and, in this respect, welcome the initiative of a ministerial conference on this topic in April 2009 in Prague; |
continue to make use of the existing political and sectoral dialogues, particularly with the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, in order to consolidate mutual understanding of what is at stake in the field of migration and intensify current cooperation; |
(g) speed up the deployment of the key tools of the Global Approach to Migration (migration balances, cooperation platforms, partnerships for mobility and circular migration programmes), to ensure a balance between the migration routes from the South and those from the East and South-east and take account of the lessons learned in these matters when negotiating EU and bilateral agreements on migration and readmission with countries of origin and of transit, as well as Pilot Mobility Partnerships; |
(h) ensure when implementing these various actions that they are consistent with other aspects of the EU's development cooperation policy, particularly the European Consensus on Development of 2005, and other policies, particularly the neighbourhood policy. |
 Presidency Conclusions, document 14368/08. The Pact itself is in document 13440/08.
 COM(2008) 359 final.
 COM(2008) 359 final.
 Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 of 11 July 2007 on Community statistics on migration and international protection, OJ L 199, 31.7.2007, p. 23.
 In relation to asylum, Member States are to provide to the Commission (Eurostat) statistics relating to (depending on the data category) monthly, quarterly or yearly periods. Monthly (asylum applications) and quarterly (first instance decisions on asylum applications) data are to be sent after two months of the end of reference period. In relation to other migration statistics Member States are to provide yearly data within three, six or 12 months (depending on the data category) of the end of the reference year. These timetables are laid down in the Regulation and represented the earliest dates by which comparable data would be available in all Member States.
 Council Decision 2008/381/EC of 14 May 2008 establishing a European Migration Network, OJ L 131, 21.5.2008, p. 7, Article 1(2).
 Article 9(1) of the Decision.
 Council Decision 2006/688/EC of 5 October 2006 on the establishment of a mutual information mechanism concerning Member States' measures in the area of asylum and immigration, OJ L 283, 14.10.2006, p. 40.
 Third annual report on the development of a common policy on illegal immigration, smuggling and trafficking of human beings, external borders, and the return of illegal residents, SEC(2009) 320 final.
 See for example the Employment in Europe 2008 Report, which included a chapter on the labour market situation and impact of recent third-country migrants.
 The Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on the Crossing of Frontiers and Immigration (Cirefi) was set up by a decision of the Ministers responsible for immigration in 1992. Its activities were expanded in 1994 to include the collection of information on legal migration, illegal immigration and unlawful residence, facilitating of illegal immigration and the use of false or falsified travel documents, OJ C 274, 19.9.1996, p. 50.
 COM(2005) 389 final.
 Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Asylum Support Office, COM(2009) 66 final, Article 12. With a view to consistency between the various legal instruments in the field of asylum, the Commission will look into the possibility of amending Council Decision establishing the EMN.
 Requested by the 2003 Thessaloniki European Council.
 Required by Article 4 of Council Decision 2006/688/EC.