Immigration : Policy Paper Sets out Key Points on Migration for Eu Leaders

Article excerpt

Priorities for action for the further development of EU immigration policy have been presented by the European Commission in a policy paper adopted on 5 December. The paper is intended to stimulate discussion between heads of state and government when they meet at the December European Council.

On illegal immigration, the paper notes that "one of the weaknesses in the machinery set up so far is the inadequacy of European policy on returning migrants," notably that only one expulsion order in three is properly enforced. It stresses that its proposal for European rules on return policy (namely the proposed directive setting out common rules concerning return, removal, use of coercive measures, temporary custody and re-entry [COD/2005/0167] of September 2005) have been before the European Parliament and Council for "too long," and that "legislation is needed very badly".

The Commission also makes some veiled criticism of recent decisions by individual member states to conduct regularisations of illegal immigrants. It notes that "legal immigration policies and measures lose much of their relevance when member states mount large-scale legalisation operations". The Commission's position is that there should now be a "genuine debate on a common approach" to this issue.

Regarding legal migration, the Commission believes that European policy "is still largely incomplete". It complains that "attempts at harmonisation have been reduced to the bare minimum" during the legislative process. …