Managing migration to further lessen irregular arrivals number

The Commission calls on Member States to make progress by adopting reform proposals

Dimitris Avramopoulos

Ahead of December European Council, the Commission last Tuesday called on Member States and the European Parliament to consolidate the significant progress made by adopting the outstanding reform proposals, the EU press service reported. The EU's comprehensive approach on migration is delivering on all fronts: deeper cooperation with partner countries; better-protected external borders; and more effective tools to manage migration inside the EU.

With irregular arrivals down to pre-crisis levels, now is the time to address remaining weaknesses, the Commission stated Work needs to continue at operational level, both externally and internally, and Member States and Parliament should swiftly complete the EU's asylum reform and in particular adopt the 5 proposals where there is broad political agreement before next year's European Parliamentary elections.

"Four years on, we are better equipped than ever to protect our external borders and address migratory challenges inside and outside the EU. The time has come to consolidate the remaining building blocks of a comprehensive migration, borders and asylum system for the long run. A constantly evolving geopolitical context shows us that we cannot wait to react, but that we have to be ready for the future already now," Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said.

“The Union's comprehensive approach to migration management is delivering tangible results. After four years, it is now essential to consolidate this comprehensive approach by switching from reactive ad hoc responses to completing the reforms for a sustainable future proof migration and asylum system. This can and should be done before the European parliamentary elections in the interest of all Member States,” First VP Frans Timmermans said.

“The EU external policies on migration are delivering. Through our partnerships, we have helped over 34,000 people to voluntarily return to their homes, with reintegration assistance, and we evacuated over 2,000 refugees from Libya for further resettlement. We will continue to work to protect stranded migrants, to put an end to the system of detention in Libya together with the United Nations and the African Union,” VP Federica Mogherini added.

Through an integrated approach major progress has been achieved by the EU and its Member States in preventing irregular migration and fighting migrant smuggling. Along the Eastern Mediterranean Route, arrivals dropped by 97% after the EU-Turkey Statement and today remain 90% less than at the peak in 2015.

Along the Central Mediterranean route irregular flows have been reduced by 80%. Nearly 34,000 persons received assistance to voluntarily return to their home countries from Libya and Niger, while over 2,000 people have been evacuated from Libya in view of further resettlement. To improve cooperation on return and readmission, 6 new arrangements have been agreed since 2016 (with Afghanistan, Guinea, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Cote d'Ivoire), bringing the total number to 23.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency is at the core of the EU's work to support Member States in protecting the external borders. In September, the Commission proposed to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard further and equip the Agency with a standing corps of 10,000 border guards to ensure that Member States can rely on full EU operational support at all times. The Commission is calling on the European Parliament and Member States to adopt the reform before the European Parliament elections next year. In addition, the EU's work on establishing new, interoperable border and security information exchange systems is starting to show results.

More on this subject: Migration crisis

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