The European Commission has released a report detailing the progress of the EU Agenda on Migration, four years after its inception.
The Commission highlighted the comprehensive, wide-ranging measures taken to cement and enforce an EU-wide stance on migration in the years following the 2015 migrant crisis, noting that the bloc is now ‘better equipped than ever before’ to offer support to Member States on matters of migration, manage its external borders and co-ordinate with third countries. The report also identified areas where further action was warranted, including shoring up international solidarity on search and rescue operations and taking urgent action to improve conditions for refugees and migrants in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini said: “Over the past years we have built an EU external migration policy when there was none. We have developed new partnerships and strengthened the old ones, starting with the African Union and the United Nations. Together we are saving lives and protecting those in need by enabling legal migration channels, addressing the drivers of migration, and fighting against smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings. The past years have confirmed that no country can address this complexity alone. It is only by working together, by joining forces that we can tackle these global challenges in an effective, human and sustainable way.”
The Commission identifies the key priorities for consideration in developing and implementing the EU Agenda on Migration:
- Providing solidarity and support to Member States by extending EU provision of staff and resources to improve border control operations;
- Endorsing co-operation and co-ordination between Member States and with partner third countries to streamline the processes of ensuring protection for refugees, supporting host communities and returning irregular migrants to their country of origin;
- Establishing a ‘complete and sustainable’ framework for asylum policy; and
- Ensuring the maintenance of safe and legal pathways for resettlement.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: “Collectively, we have made the EU better equipped to deal with current and future migration challenges. Along the way, we have increasingly come to realise that this work is not only limited to what we do within our own borders. The 21st century will be remembered as the era of human mobility. This is a global challenge that we must manage with our partners. This is why in much of the work that we have accomplished these past years – political, operational and financial – the internal and external dimensions were more interlinked than ever before. Whether this has been our cooperation with Turkey and the Middle East, our African partners, or our support to the Syrian crisis – this has never been just about money or financial support. This has been about addressing root causes, reducing irregular and dangerous journeys, and directly helping vulnerable migrants and refugees on the ground.”