Immigration : Commission Seeks to Develop Europe's Migration Policy

European Social Policy, December 11, 2006 | Go to article overview
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Immigration : Commission Seeks to Develop Europe's Migration Policy


Ahead of the European Council on 14 and 15 December, the European Commission presented, on 30 November, two communications on, firstly, migration policy and, secondly, reinforcing the EU's southern borders.

In the awkwardly entitled communication on the "Global Approach to Migration One Year On," which also reviews progress since December 2005, the Commission proposes, in a first phase, spending 40 million on dialogue with Africa and an EU Programme on Migration and Development. Other proposals include the better integration of migration policies into EU development programmes and "assistance" to African countries in "better managing" migration. The Commission is also seeking to establish a Euromed migration programme

More novel is the Commission's emphasis on "legal migration" and "integration policies". Presenting the two communications, Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini stepped carefully: "I have mentioned legal migration to member states several times. I fully respect the principle of national quotas," said Frattini. Despite acknowledging the clear competence of member states, Frattini, nonetheless, sketched the possibility of the Commission having an "instrument," with respect to legal migration, when negotiating with third countries. "This does not mean that we will touch member states right to fix quotas," added Frattini.

According to the commissioner, giving the Commission a role in negotiating legal migration will strengthen individual member states bargaining position. "We need a stronger role in negotiating with third countries. Many member states have understood that, even if national labour markets highlight specific needs for each member state".

The Commission also wants European job mobility portals providing African countries with information about the legal job opportunities in Europe. But Frattini is aware of fears as to an increased brain drain that policies on "legal migration" may give rise to. "The brain drain problem is a major one and will be dealt with," said Frattini. One official, though, admitted that if the US and other English-speaking countries like Canada, New Zealand and Australia continue to cherry-pick the highest qualified immigrants, Europe will also not be left out.

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Immigration : Commission Seeks to Develop Europe's Migration Policy
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