EU Funding:European Pact on Immigration and Asylum


 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Thematic programme for external aid and development in order to better manage the migratory flows with a view to reducing the migratory pressure on the EU

At their meeting on 24 July, the EU Home Affairs Ministers noted the stage reached in the proceedings for the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum

Noting that international migration is a factor of human and economic exchange which contributes to the economic growth of the European Union, the draft Pact provides for the establishment of a common immigration policy. Its aim is to manage migration flows into the European Union in a way which complies with the norms of international law, takes account of Europe’s reception capacity in terms of its labour market, housing, education and social services and protects migrants from the risks of various types of exploitation.

A common immigration and asylum policy requires increased cooperation and information exchange in a spirit of mutual responsibility and solidarity between Member States and of partnership with third countries.

The Pact is based on five principles:
- Organising legal immigration to take account of the priorities, needs and reception capacities determined by each Member State, and encouraging integration
Legal immigration must benefit both the migrant and the host country: it must respond to the labour market needs of the host country, but must not aggravate the brain drain. It must encourage the harmonious integration of immigrants, based on a balance between their rights and duties. Language-learning and access to employment are essential factors for integration.
- Controlling illegal immigration by ensuring that illegal immigrants return to their countries of origin or to a transit country
Readmission agreements should be concluded so that illegal immigrants can be expelled, and each Member State must recognise and apply the return decisions taken by another Member State. Only case-by-case regularisation will be used, rather than generalised regularisation.
- Making border controls more effective
Given the wide range of geographical situations in the EU, Member States which are exposed to larger influxes of immigrants should be able to count on the solidarity of the European Union. To strengthen border controls, the issue of biometric visas must be generalised and electronic recording of entry and exit must be established.
- Constructing a Europe of asylum
The common European asylum system must be completed with the establishment of a European support office to facilitate the exchange of information, analyses and experience among Member States. There are proposals to establish a single asylum procedure and to adopt a uniform status for refugees.
- Creating a comprehensive partnership with the countries of origin and of transit to encourage the synergy between migration and development
Such a partnership will be established in agreements with the countries of origin and of transit containing clauses on the opportunities for legal migration, which will enable immigrants to acquire training or professional experience which they can use for the benefit of their home countries. Migration and development policies must be integrated more effectively by means of solidarity development projects that raise the living standards of citizens and enable migrants to take part in the development of their home countries.

At the informal ministerial meeting which took place in Cannes on 7 July 2008, the French Presidency had already noted broad agreement on the draft Pact. The aim is for the Pact to be adopted at the European Council meeting on 15 October 2008.

EU Council

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