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Commission's latest report on the Agenda on Migration praises "progress" and calls for further work
12.3.19
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Last week the European Commission published its latest report on the European Agenda on Migration, praising work that has "brought irregular arrivals to Europe down to the lowest level recorded in 5 years." At the same time, it highlights the need for further work as part of the EU's "comprehensive approach", putting particular emphasis on cooperation with Morocco.

Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos highlighted that:

"the fact that the number of irregular arrivals has been reduced is no guarantee for the future, considering the likely continuation of migratory pressure. It is therefore essential to pursue a comprehensive approach to migration management and border protection."

See: The European Agenda on Migration: EU needs to sustain progress made over the past 4 years (European Commission press release, link):

"Ahead of the March European Council, the Commission is today taking stock of progress made over the past 4 years and setting out the measures still required to address immediate and future migration challenges.

(...)

Immediate measures needed

The most pressing issues that require further work are:

  • Western Mediterranean route: support to Morocco needs to be further intensified as the Western Mediterranean route has seen a significant increase in arrivals. This must include the continued implementation of the €140 million programme to support border management and a resumption of negotiations on readmission and visa facilitation with Morocco.
  • Central Mediterranean route: Improving the appalling conditions in Libya: efforts through the trilateral AU-EU-UN taskforce must continue to help free migrants from detention, facilitate voluntary return (37,000 returns so far) and to evacuate the most vulnerable (almost 2,500 evacuated).
  • Eastern Mediterranean route: Migration management in Greece: While the EU-Turkey Statement has continued to ensure greatly reduced arrivals on the Greek islands, key problems in Greece remain unresolved as regards returns, asylum processing and adequate accommodation. To improve migration management, Greece should swiftly establish an effective national strategy with operational workflows.
  • Temporary arrangements for disembarkation: Building on the experience made with ad hoc solutions over the summer of 2018 and in January 2019, temporary arrangements can provide a more systematic and coordinated EU approach on disembarka­tion. Such arrangements would put solidarity and responsibility at EU level in practice and serve as a bridge until the reform of the Dublin regulation is finalised."

The press release also sets out four key themes - "tackling the drivers of irregular migration"; "Stronger Border Management"; "Protection and asylum"; and "Legal migration and integration".

Regarding "protection and asylum", it is now clear that there will be "no further progress" on the changes to the Common European Asylum System legislation any time soon. See: No agreement on asylum possible before EU elections, EU member states admit (euractiv, link)

See the full European Commission report: Report on the Implementation of the European Agenda on Migration (COM(2019) 126 final, pdf)

Further reading

Council Presidency: "progress" in migration cooperation with Libya should be repeated across North Africa (Statewatch News Online, 12 March 2019)

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