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Document 52011DC0248


/* COM/2011/0248 final */

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1. Introduction 3

2. Crossing the borders 5

2.1. Coping with the crisis: the short-term measures 5

2.2. Border controls 7

2.3. Schengen governance 8

2.4. Preventing irregular immigration 9

3. Moving and living in an area without internal borders 10

3.1. Organised mobility 10

3.2. A consistent policy on mobility including visas 11

3.3. A properly managed legal migration 12

3.4. Building an inclusive society by integrating immigrants 13

4. Providing international protection to persons in need 14

5. Migration in External relations beyond the crisis 15

5.1. The Global approach to migration 15

5.2. Beyond the crisis: the EU and the Southern Mediterranean in partnership 16

ANNEX 1 18

ANNEX 2 21


The events in the Southern Mediterranean bring hope for a better life for millions of people in our neighbourhood, as well as for greater respect of human rights, pluralism, the rule of law and social justice. As is often the case for democratic uprisings, they may also entail, in the short and medium term, upheaval and uncertainty. Political unrest and military conflicts have led to the loss of human lives and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, not only from the countries directly concerned by the changes, for instance Tunisia and Libya, but also from other countries.

These recent events of historic proportion in the Southern Mediterranean have confirmed the need for a strong and common EU policy in the field of migration and asylum. Making substantial progress on legislation, operational cooperation and in our relations with third countries is more necessary than ever. The purpose of this Communication is to set recent and future policy proposals in a framework that takes account of all relevant aspects and allows the EU and its Member States to manage asylum, migration and mobility of third-country nationals in a secure environment.

Some Member States, such as Italy, Malta, Greece and Cyprus are more directly exposed to massive arrivals of irregular migrants and, to a limited extent, of persons in need of international protection. This is not a national problem alone, but needs also to be addressed at the EU level and requires true solidarity amongst Member States.

The EU must ensure quick assistance to all persons in need - as it has done notably at the Tunisian-Libyan border - and provide shelter to those in need of international protection. Whilst the EU must maintain and consolidate its tradition of granting asylum and protection it should also foresee the appropriate tools in order to prevent large number of economic migrants crossing the borders irregularly. To reach these objectives effective management of the EU's borders is a condition of credibility inside and outside the Union.

The continuously evolving situation in our Southern Neighbourhood requires rapid responses. Building upon the European Council Conclusions of 11 and 25 March, the European Parliament's Resolution of 5 April[1], and, the joint Communication of the Commission and the High Representative of 8 March, the Commission will present on 24 May a package of proposals to ensure a coherent EU approach in the area of migration, mobility and security with the Southern Mediterranean countries.

However, the need to address this challenging and evolving situation should not lead to a short-term approach limited to border control without taking account of long-term issues. Dialogue and cooperation with countries of origin and of transit of these migrants is essential. Such collaboration needs to be built on security and good governance for the establishment of mutually beneficial policies in the field of legal migration. It also implies enhanced economic cooperation in order to develop the conditions for growth and employment in the countries of origin, to address the causes of irregular migration. Such cooperation should also build on the principle of conditionality applied to migration issues in order to encourage effective commitment by our partners in preventing irregular migration flows, in managing their borders efficiently and in cooperating on the return and readmission of irregular migrants.

A comprehensive migration policy for non_EU-nationals based on common admission procedures, which treats third-country nationals fairly, will moreover contribute to the EU's future prosperity. As underlined in the Europe 2020 Strategy, one of the most pressing economic challenges faced by Europe is the need to address the demographic decline in its working age population coupled with significant projected skills shortages in certain sectors. To remain competitive and allow it to maintain its social model in a sustainable way, Europe needs to adopt measures to improve the employment rates of EU residents, but must at the same time take concrete steps to meet its projected labour needs via targeted immigration of third country nationals.

The EU should also ensure that it has in place safe and efficient asylum procedures for people in need of protection. Sixty years after the signature of the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees, it is time for the EU to reaffirm its commitment to offer protection to any persecuted third country national or stateless person arriving on its territory. A Common European Asylum System, offering a high level of protection and reducing the disparities among Member States' asylum systems, must be completed by 2012, as agreed by the European Council.

Migration issues are having an increasingly significant political impact in the EU. The October 2008 European Council adopted a European Pact on Immigration and Asylum to give an impulse to the development of an EU common policy with five commitments: organizing legal migration, fighting against irregular migration, strengthening the external borders, building an EU asylum system and creating a global partnership for migration and development. Its basic assumption remains valid and should continue to guide our action: whereas poorly managed immigration can affect social cohesion and the trust of citizens in an area of free movement without internal borders, well managed migration can be a positive asset for the EU. These commitments were reiterated and further detailed in the Stockholm Programme adopted by the Council in December 2009, and the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which , has ensured a stable, comprehensive and more accountable legal framework for the development of EU migration policy, notably through a greater participation of the European Parliament in the decision-making process.

At the same time, as recent events have starkly illustrated, the EU continues to face serious challenges in the development of its migration policy. The vulnerability of some sections of the EU's external borders is a clear example, notably in the Southern Mediterranean and at the land border between Greece and Turkey. In particular, measures must be taken to prevent large numbers of irregular migrants, often exploited by unscrupulous criminal networks, from arriving in the EU. The EU should accordingly pursue a migration policy based on ensuring that inward migration is effectively managed and ensure that the need for enhanced mobility does not undermine the security of the Union's external borders. While this Communication naturally focuses on regions of most immediate concern, the EU’s migration policy follows a geographically comprehensive approach.

Crossing the borders

Coping with the crisis: the short-term measures

Since the beginning of the year, there has been a massive displacement of populations from several North African countries, and in particular from Libya. According to the latest estimates, more than 650 000 persons have left the territory of Libya to flee the violence there. These people have found hospitality in neighbouring countries, primarily in Tunisia and Egypt, and many have since managed, or been assisted, to return to their respective home countries. This reception and repatriation effort has been handled by a massive mobilisation of resources by the host countries, the EU, NGOs and the international community. Through its humanitarian financing and the provision of means of transport, the EU has so far contributed to the repatriation of approximately 50,000 third country nationals.

Thousands of people have recently sought to come to the EU, putting the protection and reception systems of some of our Member States under increasing strain. More than 20 000 migrants, mainly from Tunisia and, to a lesser extent from other African countries, have managed to enter the Union irregularly, reaching the shores of Italy (most to the island of Lampedusa) and Malta, both of which are under strong migratory pressure. Most of these are economic migrants and should be returned to their countries of origin. In addition to displaced people and migrants, a considerable number of refugees of different nationalities, including Somalis, Eritreans and Sudanese, have left Libya, some of whom have managed to reach Italy and Malta. These significant flows, which include unaccompanied minors requiring child-specific reception measures, have also put additional strain on the health systems of the Member States most concerned, in order to provide health care to migrants who need it and to ensure proper medical screening and prevention.

It is important to differentiate between irregular migrants (economic migrants trying to cross EU borders illegally), refugees or persons who may seek asylum, and people who are temporarily displaced (such as foreign workers in Libya driven out by the conflict and wishing to move back to their country of origin). The legal status of these people, as well as the help the EU can provide to them, is different.

The EU has responded to all these challenges swiftly and pro-actively. Funds have been mobilised by the Commission and the Member States to help manage the humanitarian emergency generated by the sudden inflows of refugees and displaced persons in the countries neighbouring Libya. This made it possible to offer temporary shelter to refugees and displaced persons, to meet their basic needs and to assist their return to their countries of origin. So far, the total EU contribution stands at €100 million in humanitarian aid, of which almost half - €48,8 million - was provided by the Commission.In addition, the EU Civil Protectin Mechanism has been mobilised to faclitate repatrition of both EU and third country nationals. To this end, 15 Member States have provided means of transport, coordinated by the Commission's Monitoring and Information Center. It is clear that this collective effort must continue. To respond to the start of the irregular and mixed migration flows across the Mediterranean Sea, FRONTEX launched the Joint Operation EPN Hermes Extension 2011, to help Italy control vessels that embark migrants and refugees. EUROPOL has deployed a team of experts to Italy, to help its law enforcement authorities to identify possible criminals among the irregular migrants having reached the Italian territory.

Those Member States that are most exposed to the growing flows of refugees and irregular migrants have been helped with the financial consequences of the displacement. To this end, around € 25 million which were identified under the External Borders Fund and European Refugee Fund.

However, while the current crisis confirms the need for increased solidarity at the European level and better sharing of responsibility, it must be recognised that the EU is not fully equipped to help those Member States most exposed to massive migratory movements.

The financial resources available under the General programme "Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows"[2] are inadequate to respond to all requests for assistance. First, these funds can not be mobilised easily; they are designed to intervene in a stable situation and not to tackle emergencies and crisis. Secondly, the magnitude of the problems largely exceeds the existing facilities.

In the context of the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, will have to draw lessons from the current crisis. For the EU to react quickly and effectively in the case of unforeseen events or emergencies, EU funding should be adapted so that it can be mobilised much more rapidly and flexibly, including in third countries. Furthermore, in the context of the ongoing revision of the EU financial regulation, the European Parliament and the Council should support the Commission's proposal to enable the EU to create its own trust funds , which would be able to pool donors' contributions notably in case of crisis and post-crisis situations. In principle, other forms of solidarity exist to respond to the dramatic events taking place in the region. Building on the experience gained so far with the current pilot project on relocation from Malta, the Commission will support an extension of this project in view of the current influx of migrants seeking international protection there, to be implemented in close cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organisation for Migration. However, the currently available instruments fall short of fulfilling all the needs and providing a comprehensive response. They can only be resorted to in an ad hoc manner, and are entirely dependent on the will of Member States to voluntarily offer assistance – in whatever form – at a given point in time. This in turn exposes the EU to criticism and risks undermining the trust of the citizens in the EU.

The Commission will closely monitor the continuously evolving situation and may decide, if the relevant conditions are met, to trigger the Temporary Protection Directive[3] to provide immediate and temporary protection to displaced persons from third countries that are unable to return to their country of origin.

The Commission will make further proposals during 2011 on delivering solidarity in a holistic manner and how concretely such assistance can be delivered. A number of different approaches are currently being studied, with a view to developing alternatives that will allow urgent needs to be responded to in a more rapid and structured fashion. This initiative will build on the appropriate legal basis of the Lisbon Treaty, such as Articles 80 and 78 paragraph 3, and will draw lessons from the situation in Greece, particularly at the land border between Greece and Turkey, and the crisis in the Southern Mediterranean; it will include possible ad hoc measures to be resorted to in case of particular temporary pressure on one or several Member States, as well as more structural means of ensuring solidarity, both financial and in the form of practical cooperation and technical assistance (e.g. via FRONTEX, EASO, joint operations).

Finally, as an important gesture of solidarity towards the North African countries (especially Tunisia) which are currently hosting large number of persons in need of international protection who cannot be returned to their countries of origin, and in order to maintain 'protection space' in these countries, it is important for EU Member States to accept to resettle some of these persons.

External border controls

Effective and credible external borders are essential. The EU must be capable of managing the flows of persons who wish to travel for a short period or to migrate legally to the EU while preventing from entry those who are not entitled to enter. Border control also makes a major contribution in the fight against crime, as explained in the Internal Security Strategy presented by the Commission in 2010[4]. The Union's dual aim must therefore be to maintain high levels of security whilst also making border crossings simpler for those who should be admitted , in full respect of their fundamental rights .

Controlling access to its territory is one of the core functions of a State or area without internal borders. In the Schengen area, each participating state is co-responsible for exercising this function in a reliable manner. Each state manages its external borders not only to control access to its own territory but also to control access to the Schengen area as a whole; it therefore acts in the interest of the others Member States and it carries out a service on behalf of the EU. Likewise, the situation of those Member States that are confronted with high pressure at their external borders must be recognised and tackled in full respect of the principle of solidarity.

The control of the EU's external border must be continuously improved to respond to new migration and security challenges. Recent events have shown how quickly a section of the external border considered as low risk can quickly become subject to critical migratory pressure. Organised crime is responsible for trafficking human beings or facilitating irregular migration and it constantly adapts its methods and routes. At the same time the overall trend is for travel flows to increase and for people to expect fast and easy border crossings.

Weaknesses at some sections of the external border undermine confidence in the credibility of the Union's ability to control access to its territory, and undermine mutual trust. Citizens also need to feel reassured that external border controls are working properly. A common set of rules already exists, but it is also necessary to further develop a shared culture among national authorities. To this end, the Commission will adopt in May an amended version of the SIRENE Manual and in June it will update the Common Practical Handbook for Border Guards. Furthermore, the feasibility of creating a European system of borders guards should be considered. This would not necessarily imply the establishment of a centralised European administration, but the creation of a common culture, of shared capacities and standards, supported by practical cooperation.

Similarly, it is necessary to adopt a risk-based approach and to ensure greater use of modern technology at land as well as sea borders. Daily cooperation between national authorities must be improved; operational information about any incident at the external border should be exchanged in real time between neighbouring Member States. This is the purpose of the European Border Surveillance System ( EUROSUR ), which is being progressively developed since 2008. The Commission will present a legislative proposal during 2011 to allow Member States' authorities carrying out border surveillance activities to share operational information and to cooperate with each other and with FRONTEX.

FRONTEX's role is key in channelling resources to places where the border is under pressure, as shown by the deployment - for the first time ever - of rapid border intervention teams to the Greek-Turkish land border in 2010 and the deployment of the joint naval operation HERMES to support Italy in 2011. FRONTEX's legal framework needs be updated to allow it to be more effective in terms of its operational capacity to act at the external border. The Commission proposed the necessary changes in February last year[5] and it is now urgent, especially in the light of recent events, that the Council and the Parliament approve this proposal before the end of this semester, as called for by the European Council.

Schengen governance

The creation of the Schengen area is one of the most tangible, popular and successful achievements of the EU. To safeguard this achievement and pave the way for its continuous development, further steps must be envisaged to strengthen external borders, as outlined above. In addition, a clear system for Schengen governance is needed. Currently the Union still relies on an intergovernmental system of peer reviews to ensure the application of the common rules. The current revision of the Schengen evaluation mechanism should be based on a Community approach with participation of experts from Member States, FRONTEX and lead by the Commission. The proposed mechanism would ensure more transparency and improve the follow-up of shortcomings identified during the experts' evaluations. The Commission will also issue guidelines to ensure a coherent implementation and interpretation of the Schengen rules.

A mechanism must also be put in place to allow the Union to handle situations where either a Member State is not fulfilling its obligations to control its section of the external border, or where a particular portion of the external border comes under unexpected and heavy pressure due to external events. A coordinated Community-based response by the Union in critical situations would undoubtedly increase trust among Member States. It would also reduce recourse tounilateral initiatives by Member States to temporarily reintroduce internal border controls or to intensify police checks in internal border regionswhich inevitably slow down the crossing of internal borders for everyone. Such a mechanism may therefore need to be introduced, allowing for a decision at the European level defining which Member States would exceptionnally reintroduce internal border control and for how long. The mechanism should be used as a last resort in truly critical situations, until other (emergency) measures have been taken to stabilise the situation at the relevant external border section either at European level, in a spirit of solidarity, and/or at national level, to better comply with the common rules. The Commission is exploring the feasibility of introducing such a mechanism, and may present a proposal to this effect shortly.

Preventing irregular immigration

By its very nature, irregular immigration is a phenomenon which is difficult to quantify. However, certain indicators may provide guidance. In 2009, the number of irregularly staying third country nationals apprehended in the EU was about 570 000 (7% less than in 2008). Member States returned about 250 000 persons (4.5% more than in 2008)[6].

Dealing firmly and effectively with irregular migration is a precondition for a credible migration and mobility policy. A low probability of return for irregular migrants who are not in need of international protection is a pull factor and undermines public trust in national and European authorities. A more coordinated use at European level of relevant tools and policies must be achieved.

The existence of an informal labour market is also a pull-factor for irregular immigration and exploitation of third country nationals. This is why the full and timely transposition by Member States of the Employer Sanctions Directive[7] is essential.

Several hundred thousand people are trafficked into the EU or within the EU every year. The recent adoption of the Directive on trafficking in human beings will keep the EU at the forefront of the international fight against this form of slavery by punishing such criminals more severely, as well as addressing prevention, protection and assistance and support to victims, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable.

The EU is also placing more emphasis on the external dimension of its policy on human trafficking. The appointment of an EU anti-trafficking coordinator will help step up efforts on anti-trafficking.

To contribute to a coherent, balanced and effective EU return policy the Commission will present a Communication in 2012 to take stock of progress and make proposals on how further progress can achieved. This should involve, i.a., promoting voluntary return, enhancing capacity-building in Member States, fostering mutual recognition of return decisions, and addressing the situation of irregular migrants who cannot be returned.

The Return Directive[8] has put in place a solid and fair framework for ensuring effective returns, in full respect of fundamental rights of the migrants and the rule of law. This instrument ensures that a person is either legally present in the EU or is issued with a return decision. The low level of implementation of the Directive is a source of serious concern and the Commission urges all Member States to ensure that the necessary national provisions are adopted and applied without delay.

In its recent comprehensive evaluation of the EU's readmission policy [9], the Commission concludes that EU readmission agreements are useful for repatriating irregular migrants. Such cooperation with third countries should be further reinforced. However, it is equally clear that readmission negotiations with several countries, including with the most important countries of origin and transit of irregular migration are difficult. Moreover, Art. 13 of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and ACP countries is still poorly implemented. In particular, the fact that incentives are often not offered by the EU to its third country counterparts, such as, for example, visa-related measures or financial assistance to strengthen the capacity of the third countries to correctly apply the agreement, impedes the EU's ability to effectively conclude and implement these agreements. It seems clear, therefore, that it no longer makes sense to seek stand alone mandates for readmission negotiations. Readmission agreements should moreover be looked at from a broader perspective of the overall relations of the EU with the particular partner country. To this end, the incorporation of enhanced readmission obligations into the framework agreements concluded with third countries is to be favoured.

Moving and living in an area without internal borders

Organised mobility

The EU's external borders serve to protect and to ensure a smooth passage for EU citizens and their family members, and for all third country nationals who come to the EU under the agreed rules. With 650 million border crossings per year for the Schengen area as a whole, the daily work of checks at border crossing points must be acknowledged[10].

A maximum use must be made of the resources available at the border crossing points, ensuring economies of scale while avoiding overlaps. Close interagency cooperation (FRONTEX, EUROPOL, national customs and police authorities) is essential for this purpose, especially between border guard authorities who control persons and customs authorities in charge of control of goods. To better coordinate the checks at the external borders the Commission will present proposals in 2012, suggesting best practices to Member States.

Attention should be paid also to reinforcing border checks while at the same time speeding up border crossings for regular travellers. Some Member States are already developing national systems for entry-exit systems. A European entry-exit system would ensure that data on the crossing of the border by third country nationals would be available for border control and immigration authorities, completing the VIS scheme for visa holders. This would help to control better the stay of visa holders and avoid over-stay, which is, contrary to common perception, the main source of irregular immigration in the EU. Simultaneously, a registered traveller programme would allow third country nationals to use automated border control making access to the EU easier for frequent travellers.

These systems would lead the way towards a next generation of border checks relying on new technologies, while building in lessons learnt from current large scale IT-projects under development. They would require substantial investment by the EU and the Member States in terms of IT development and public expenditure and efforts to ensure high level standards for the protection of personal data. Before presenting specific proposals, therefore, the Commission will consult further in the coming months with the European Parliament and the Council and stakeholders on how to move forward.

A consistent policy on mobility for third country nationals, including visas

The EU's common visa policy is one of the flanking measures which obviate the need for internal borders. Beyond this, the visa policy is an influential instrument for a forward-looking policy on mobility. It has a huge impact on third countries which consider mobility of their citizens a top priority of their foreign policy. In 2009, around 11 million visas were delivered by the Member States issuing Schengen visas[11].

In recent years, the EU has concluded several visa facilitation agreements and undertaken visa liberalisation dialogues . In some cases, and once all relevant pre-requisites were met, the EU decided to lift the visa obligation for citizens of specific third countries.

These experiences are largely positive and demonstrate that it is possible to ensure a well managed mobility in a secure environment . Preventing irregular migration and maintaining public security are compatible with the objective of increased mobility. The right balance between enhanced mobility of bona fide travellers and the risks of irregular migration and threats to public policy and security should always be ensured. Whenever appropriate, whether this balance has been struck should be verified via a post-visa liberalisation monitoring mechanism, such as the one set up by the Commission in January 2011, covering five countries in the Western Balkans' region which were accorded a visa-waiver in 2009 and 2010 (Albania, Bosnia - Herzegovina, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia).

If a visa-waiver leads to large-scale irregular migration or abuse, or endangers security, the EU should have at its disposal appropriate tools to promptly remedy these problems. To ensure this, the Commission will shortly propose a modification of the Visa Regulation [12] establishing a safeguard clause that would allow, under certain conditions, for the temporary re-introduction of the visa requirement for citizens of a third country.

The EU must remain open to cultural, economic and trade exchanges, for the sake of enhancing its role as a global player, and promoting the interest of its business community, the university sector and cultural stakeholders. More coherence is needed between visa policy and other EU policies, such as trade and research policies.

The potential offered by the Visa Code - applicable since April 2010 - should be used to the fullest. There is still reluctance e.g. to issue multiple entry visas with a long period of validity to frequent travellers despite the fact that their reliability is fully proven. To this end, the Commission will present in the coming months its first annual report on Local Schengen Cooperation . In this report, the Commission intends to make concrete proposals for the benefit of Member States' consulates and the visa applicants, on the functioning of Local Schengen Cooperation e.g. with regard to the harmonisation of the lists of supporting documents to be submitted by the visa applicants and the optimisation of the issuing of multiple entry visa to bona fide travellers.

The accessibility of consular services is also of the utmost importance. The Commission will present later this year a Communication on regional consular cooperation programmes. In particular, it will examine how the setting up of common visa application centres could be facilitated. In the longer term, cooperation between Member States on short stay Schengen visas could be extended to long stay visas.

A properly managed legal migration

As emphasised in the Europe 2020 Strategy, a rational migration policy should recognise that migrants can bring economic dynamism and new ideas and help create new jobs. Migrants also help fill gaps in the labour market that EU workers cannot, or do not wish to fill, and contribute to addressing the demographic challenges that the EU faces. To keep the ratio of working-age population to total population at its 2008 level, it is estimated that the EU would need significant net immigration. Long term demographic trends show that reliance on a workforce coming from labour flows between EU Member States may become limited over the next decade[13].

Receiving migrants with the skills that correspond to EU needs can be a response to labour and skills shortages in certain sectors . Future employment growth will be concentrated in service activities and many of these jobs will be connected with public services as well as household related services. To give some examples, the Commission's Agenda for new skills and jobs[14] estimates that by 2020 there will be a shortage of about one million professionals in the health sector - and up to two million taking into account also ancillary healthcare professions. It is estimated that by 2015 shortages of ICT practitioners will be between 384 000 and 700 000 jobs[15]. The EU also requires a very large increase in the number of researchers active here, some of who will need to come from third countries, if the economy is to become as dynamic and innovative as is necessary to remain competitive in a global economy.

More work is needed to anticipate labour and skills shortages and to identify the role that migration could play in filling such shortages, whilst taking care to avoid "brain drain" from developing countries.

An EU legal framework on migration is being developed, while Member States remain responsible for the numbers of third-country nationals they admit for employment purposes. Enabling the people with the right skills to be in the right place at the right time, is key to the success of business, research and innovation in Europe. Simplifying administrative procedures and reviewing the restrictions on the possibilities for third-country national migrants to be mobile within the EU and between the EU and third countries, without losing acquired rights of residence and employment would help make labour markets function better. Moreover, a third of migrants are overqualified for the jobs they occupy, a waste of human capital that Europe cannot afford. Therefore, the EU must make greater efforts to recognise the formal qualifications of migrants, whether already legally present or newly arrived.

The on-going jobs crisis in many Member States means EU labour markets are under pressure at present. The Commission is currently putting in place a number of instruments to review the matching of skills and supply and to identify economic sectors and occupations currently facing recruitment difficulties or skills shortages. The results of this analysis will help the Commission to examine the emerging bottleneck occupations and skills gaps which could be filled with well-targeted migration strategies. The Commission is considering presenting by 2012 a Green Paper on addressing labour shortages through migration in the EU Member States. The time has come to find an agreement on the 2007 proposal on the " Single permit " which will simplify administrative procedures for migrants and give a clear and common set of rights. At the same time, to remain competitive, Europe must be an attractive destination for highly skilled migrants, as global demand for high skilled workers will increase. The EU Blue Card scheme puts in place a package of measures that would facilitate the recruitment of these persons in the EU. The Commission urges all Member States to intensify efforts to properly transpose the Directive. Moreover, in order to plug identified gaps in the EU legal framework, the Commission put forward proposals on seasonal workers and intra-corporate transferees in 2010. As regards future legislative initiatives in the legal migration field, the Commission is continually evaluating the current framework in order to see whether the existing instruments are correctly implemented, can be improved or whether new ones are needed. Reports on the Directives dealing with third-country long-term residents, students and researchers will be presented in 2011.

Potential migrants need information on the EU and national legal frameworks, language requirements, visas and work permits. The EU immigration portal , a website to be launched at the end of 2011, will be a one-stop-shop for clear and accessible information.

In the early 2000s, in Member States providing reliable data, migration for family-related reasons seemed to account for more than 50% of total legal immigration. This percentage is progressively decreasing and today about one third of all immigration to the EU is related to family reasons. As opposed to labour migration, Member States cannot pre-define the volumes of such persons to be admitted. Indeed, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, along with many instruments of international law, and the EU Directive on family reunification [16] of third-country nationals recognise the obligation to respect family life. The Commission will discuss this issue with the Member States, the European Parliament and stakeholders and will issue a Green Paper by the end of the year.

Building an inclusive society by integrating immigrants

Integration of legally resident third-country nationals remains a key and sometimes controversial issue. Successful integration is essential for human and cultural reasons. It is also necessary for maximising the economic and social benefits of immigration, for individuals as well as societies. There is no single means of ensuring successful integration. But it is clear that more efforts are needed both at the EU, the national and local level to achieve better results. Every migrant should feel at home in Europe, respecting its laws and values, and should be able to contribute to Europe's future.

Integration requires efforts by the migrant and the receiving society. Migrants must be given the opportunity to participate in their new communities, in particular to learn the language of the receiving country, to have access to employment, education and health systems, as well as to have the socio-economic capacity to support themselves. Migrants should become acquainted with the fundamental values of the EU and its Member States in order to understand the culture and traditions of the country they live in. Migrants' integration implies a balance between enjoying the rights and respecting the laws and cultures of the host countries.

In this context, the Commission will shortly present a Communication on a European Agenda for the Integration of third-country nationals, focusing on migrants' participation in receiving countries, action at the local level and the involvement of countries of origin in the integration process. This Agenda will be a contribution to the debate on how to understand and support integration.

A 'toolbox' of approaches which have proved successful in integrating migrants is being developed, to facilitate the exchange of best practice enabling national authorities to learn from each other and choose the measures which are most likely to prove effective in achieving their particular integration objectives. So-called 'European modules' are being designed to support policies and practices which can be adapted to the needs of individual Member States, regions and cities. In particular, the Commission's Communication will advocate a strengthening of the involvement of local and regional actors in the definition of integration policies, including, for example, through a strategic partnership with the Committee of the Regions and European networks of cities and regions.


One of the main purposes of the Common European Asylum System is to reduce the wide divergence in the outcome of asylum applications lodged in different countries of the EU, and to ensure a common set of procedural and substantive rights which can be relied on across the Union, while ensuring full compliance with the 1951 Geneva Convention on refugees and other relevant international obligations.

In 2010, there were some 257 800 asylum seekers registered in the EU, or 515 applicants per million inhabitants. Ten Member States accounted for more than 90% of applicants registered in the EU[17].

It is time to complete the Common European Asylum System by reaching agreement on a balanced package by the 2012 deadline agreed by the European Council in December 2009. To that end, the Commission will shortly put forward modified proposals on the Reception Conditions and the Asylum Procedures Directives. A balanced agreement on the revision of the Dublin Regulation must be reached, including on a last resort emergency mechanism in case of exceptional pressures, and on the revised Eurodac system.

Together with the Qualification Directive and the extension of the scope of the Directive on the Long Term Residence Status to beneficiaries of international protection, the common asylum system should provide for (a) the fair treatment of and appropriate guarantees for asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection; (b) procedural devices that will help national authorities to properly and quickly assess asylum claims, in a more convergent way and with tools to deal with abusive claims; (c) the appropriate level of approximation of rights for beneficiaries of international protection which will contribute to cost savings in administrative processes and to limiting secondary movements and asylum shopping, while at the same time improving integration prospects; (d) the improvement of the efficiency of the 'Dublin system', while catering for situations of exceptional pressures which may be faced by individual Member States; and (e) a EURODAC database which continues to support the efficiency of the Dublin Regulation, whilst also meeting other needs of law enforcement authorities but under very strict conditions.

Strengthened practical cooperation must accompany EU legislation and its proper implementation. The European Asylum Support Office will become fully operational in June this year and its activity will lead to increased confidence and cooperation among European partners.

Solidarity and cooperation with third countries in managing asylum and refugee flows is also important. In particular, Regional Protection Programmes must continue to be operated. These provide for a broad partnership with countries and regions of origin, in close cooperation with UNHCR, combining dialogue and support for capacity-building measures, for access to durable solutions, improvements in national asylum legislation, reception of asylum seekers and refugees, repatriation measures and resettlement.

In the course of 2010, about 5 000 refugees were resettled in the EU as a whole. This compares to the approximately 75 000 refugees resettled in the US the same year. Indeed, EU Member States altogether currently accept fewer resettled refugees than Canada alone. Resettlement must become an integral part of the EU asylum policy. It represents a life-saving measure for genuine refugees who might otherwise be obliged to a dangerous journey to a place of permanent refuge. It is also an important responsibility-sharing gesture towards countries of first asylum, most of which are developing countries, it helps to maintain 'protection space' in hosting countries, and it contributes to dialogue and cooperation on other issues of migration and border management. The European Parliament and the Council should adopt the EU joint resettlement scheme proposed by the Commission[18] without further delay.

Migration in External relations beyond the crisis

A global approach to migration

The EU needs to strengthen its external migration policies. There is a need for partnerships with third countries that address the issues related to migration and mobility in a way that makes cooperation mutually beneficial. In developing such a policy, migration issues should be integrated into the overall EU's external relations to promote EU's interest and needs. Special attention should be given to the relationship between migration and climate change. Consistency between internal and external policies is essential to produce sound results as is coherence and complementarity between Union and Member States' actions.

The Commission will present a Communication on the Global Approach to Migration later this year. After the first five years of implementation, it is time to enter a new phase and explore ways to make this strategic approach more efficient and coherent, with more clearly defined objectives. This policy framework needs to better reflect the strategic objectives of the Union, both external and internal and to translate them into concrete proposals for the development of our key partnerships (notably EU-Africa, Eastern Partnership, EuroMed Partnership and the enlargement countries).

There should be a better thematic balance between the three main areas of policy intervention: a) organizing legal migration; b) reinforcing the fight against irregular migration; and c) maximizing the mutual benefits of migration for development.

The external dimension could play a more important role in reaching out to third countries that should be seen as partners when it comes to addressing labour needs in the EU, whilst respecting EU preference for EU citizens. In an effort to better connect labour supply and needs and to facilitate for EU industry in recruiting the right skills, important work could be done in third countries in areas such as recognition of foreign qualifications and pre-departure vocational and language training.

The work on migration and development needs to be deepened and refined. The EU should step up its efforts to address the drivers of migration with a special focus on employment issues, governance and demographic developments. New initiatives to encourage the positive impact on development from the transfers of migrants' remittances need to be taken.

The human dimension of migration and development policies will also be strengthened through the introduction of a migrant-centred approach. In this context the role of diaspora should get more attention. Initiatives geared to enabling members of the diaspora to contribute to their country of origin should be considered, including the promotion of the temporary return of qualified migrants. Building upon the first positive experiences, the possibilities of circular migration need to be further developed.

Until now the main focus of the Global Approach has been on Africa and the east and south-east of Europe. In strengthening the EU's external migration policies, the geographical priorities should be revisited, based on EU and third country interests and common challenges particularly in the light of recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa.

Beyond the crisis: the EU and the Southern Mediterranean in partnership

The European Council meetings on 11 and 25 March reaffirmed the commitment to develop a new partnership with the countries of the Southern Neighbourhood . The European Parliament also underlined in its recent Resolution[19], the need to have a balanced and comprehensive approach to these issues. Building on these contributions, in the coming weeks, the Commission will present a revised European Neighbourhood Policy and a package of proposals concerning the EU approach in the area of migration, mobility and security with the Southern Mediterranean countries.

In this framework, work shall be carried out with the Southern Mediterranean countries to improve the recognition of migrants' skills and educational levels.

Moreover, people-to-people contacts across the Mediterranean should support burgeoning democratisation in North Africa. Enhanced mobility will increase mutual understanding and boost trade relations. The EU needs to offer its partners in the neighbourhood a dynamic mobility policy, including visas, which is also solidly anchored within the EU external policy. Liberalised provision of services, enhanced exchanges of students and researchers, intensified contacts bringing civil society, businessmen, journalists and human rights organisations together are instrumental to achieving the goals of the European Neighbourhood Policy. They can only take place if proper channels for regular migration and visa facilitation are in place.

As a first step , the EU has proposed to the Southern Mediterranean countries to establish a structured dialogue on migration, mobility and security in view of establishing related Mobility Partnerships on the basis of the specific merit of each and every country.

The dialogue should have the aim of establishing Mobility Partnerships with appropriate conditionality, and of helping the partner countries to reinforce capacity building in the areas of management of migrations flows. Mobility partnerships should cover, among others, ways to facilitate and better organise legal migration, effective and humane measures to fight irregular migration, and concrete steps towards reinforcing the development outcomes of migration. Their implementation will be conditional upon a genuine commitment from the third-countries concerned to readmit irregular migrants who are not entitled to stay in the territory of the Member States and take effective action aimed at preventing irregular migration, establishing integrated border management, document security and to fight organized crime, including trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants.

Partner countries that are ready to work with the EU on asylum, migration and border management, as well as on more effective enforcement of the rule of law, will be supported in strengthening their capacities to that end. This cooperation will also help to set the conditions for stability, respect for human rights, democracy and good governance. It will likewise enable the EU to offer further initiatives to facilitate mobility for third country nationals, in parallel with measures in the area of visa policy, as part of a more general overhaul of the EU's relationships with these countries.


Commission's initiatives linked to the Communication |

Reference N° | Full title |

CHAPTER 2 Crossing the external borders and mobility |

2011/HOME/040 | Commission Decision on local Schengen cooperation | June 2011 |

2011/HOME/182 | Recommendation amending COM Recommendation establishing a common Practical Handbook for Border Guards | June 2011 |

2011/HOME/045 | Commission Decision amending the Visa Code Handbooks | June 2011 |

2011/HOME/050 | Commission Decision amending the SIRENE Manual | May 2011 |

2011/HOME/041 | Commission proposal to amend EP and Council Regulation 539/2001 on visas | 24 May 2011 |

2011/HOME/044 | Communication on programmes for regional consular cooperation and setting up of common application centers | November 2011 |

2011/HOME/088 | Legislative proposal defining the objective, scope and the technical and operational framework of the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) | December 2011 |

2011/HOME/.. | Communication on Smart Borders (Entry Exit System and Registered Travellers Programme) | September 2011 |

2011/HOME/016 | Communication on enhanced Intra-EU solidarity | November 2011 |

CHAPTER 3 Moving and living in an area without internal borders |

Schengen: a mechanism for a coordinated and temporary reintroduction of controls, to be added to the Commission proposal on evaluation of Schengen | June/July 2011 |

2011/HOME/037 | Migration and Asylum in the EU in 2010 (Second annual Report on the Immigration and Asylum Pact), accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Paper | 24 May 2011 |

2011/HOME/017 | Communication on an EU agenda for integration, accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Paper | 24 May 2011 |

2010/HOME/085 | Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council on the application of Directive 2003/109/EC on the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents | September 2011 |

2010/HOME/086 | Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council on the application of Directive 2004/114/EC on the conditions of admission of third-country nationals for the purposes of studies, pupil exchange, unremunerated training or voluntary service. | September 2011 |

2011/HOME/039 | Report on Directive 2005/71/EC on admission of third country nationals for the purpose of scientific research and possible follow-up | December 2011 |

2009/HOME/057 | Green paper on Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification | November 2011 |

Communication on EU Policy on Return | 2012 |

Green Paper on Addressing labour shortages through migration in the EU Member States | 2012 |

CHAPTER 4 Providing international protection to persons in need |

2011/HOME/186 | Modified proposal on the Asylum Procedures Directive | 1st June 2011 |

2011/HOME/187 | Modified proposal on the Reception Conditions Directive | 1st June 2011 |

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person | Already tabled |

Amended proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of 'EURODAC' | Already tabled |

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted | Already tabled |

Commission's proposal on a EU Joint Resettlement Program | Already tabled |

CHAPTER 5 The Global Approach to Migration |

Communication "A dialogue for migration, mobility and security with the Southern Mediterranean" | 24 May 2011 |

2010/HOME+/011 | Commission proposal for the Council decisions concerning the signature and conclusion of the agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde on mobility and readmission | November 2011 |

2011/HOME/001 | Communication on the evaluation and future development of the Global Approach to Migration | November 2011 |

2011/HOME/022 | CSWP on Migration and Development | November 2011 |

2011/HOME/023 | CSWP on Migration and Climate Change | November 2011 |

2001/HOME/019 | Action Plan on cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries | September 2011 |

Commission proposal for the Council decisions concerning the signature and conclusion of the agreement between the European Community and Armenia on visa facilitation and readmission | July 2011 |

Commission proposal for the Council decisions concerning the signature and conclusion of the agreement between the European Community and Azerbaijan on visa facilitation and readmission | July 2011 |


Table nr 1 : Total Visa statistics 2009


Source: General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union

[pic]Table nr 2 : Table on apprehensions, removals and returns.

Source: Eurostat

Table nr 3 : Non EU-population in the Member States, 2010

Non-EU population in Member States, 2010 |

Citizens of non-EU countries (000's)) | % |

EU27 | 20 126.1 | 4.0 |

Belgium | : | : |

Bulgaria | 20.3 | 0.3 |

Czech Republic | 287.4 | 2.7 |

Denmark | 214.3 | 3.9 |

Germany | 4 584.7 | 5.6 |

Estonia | 201.7 | 15.1 |

Ireland | 67.9 | 1.5 |

Greece | 791.7 | 7.0 |

Spain | 3 335.7 | 7.3 |

France | 2 451.4 | 3.8 |

Italy | 2 993.7 | 5.0 |

Cyprus | 43.8 | 5.5 |

Latvia | 382.4 | 17.0 |

Lithuania | 34.6 | 1.0 |

Luxembourg | 29.5 | 5.9 |

Hungary | 81.1 | 0.8 |

Malta | 11.3 | 2.7 |

Netherlands | 341.3 | 2.1 |

Austria | 548.0 | 6.5 |

Poland | 30.7 | 0.1 |

Portugal | 363.1 | 3.4 |

Romania | 25.3 | 0.1 |

Slovenia | 77.6 | 3.8 |

Slovakia | 24.2 | 0.4 |

Finland | 98.5 | 1.8 |

Sweden | 324.7 | 3.5 |

United Kingdom | 2 445.1 | 3.9 |

Source: Eurostat


Table nr 4 : Number of residence permits issued in 2008 and 2009

Source: Eurostat

Table nr 5 : First instance asylum decision by outcome and Member States, 2010 |

Source : Eurostat |

[1] European Parliament resolution of 5 April 2011 on migration flows arising from instability: scope and role of EU foreign policy (2010/2269(INI))

[2] The General Programme encompasses four Funds that are relevant in this context, the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund, the European Refugee Fund and the Integration Fund.

[3] Council Directive 2001/51/EC of 20 July 2001.

[4] COM(2010) 673, 22.11.2010.

[5] COM(2010) 61, 24.2.2010.

[6] See Annex 1 - Table on apprehension, removal and returns.

[7] Directive 2009/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009.

[8] Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008. The deadline for implementing the Directive passed in December 2010.

[9] COM(2011) 76, 23.2.2011.

[10] According to a data collection exercise at all EU external border crossing points organised from 31 August to 6 September 2009: 12,6 million persons cross regularly the border per week. 73,5 are EU citizens or persons enjoying the Union right of free movement (9,1 million/week), 15,2% are third country nationals who do not need a visa (2,1 million/week) while 11,3 % are third country nationals holding a visa (1,4 million/week).

[11] See Annex 2 table 1 on Total Visa statistics 2009

[12] Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of the European Parliament and the Council.

[13] Labour market polarization in Europe. Cedefop research paper n. 9 2011.

[14] COM(2010) 682.

[15] Monitoring e-Skills demand and supply in Europe – current situation, scenarios & future development forecasts until 2015, DG ECFIN.

[16] Council Directive 2003/86/EC.

[17] France, followed by Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands Austria, Greece, Italy and Poland. See Annex 2, table 5

[18] COM(2009) 447, 2.9.2009.

[19] European Parliament resolution of 5 April 2011 on migration flows arising from instability: scope and role of EU foreign policy (2010/2269(INI))