Migration management: a joint effort by the EU and its partners
The volume of global migration flows has been growing throughout the current century, and this trend is expected to continue. Managing migration flows calls for measures within the EU and at its external borders, and also beyond its territory. The EU must engage in systematic cooperation with its partner countries.
The EU is determined to help tackle the root causes of uncontrolled migration that persist in third countries. The required measures include improving future prospects in the local context, combating climate change and eradicating youth unemployment. We should invest in education for girls and women to help keep population growth under control.
During the Finnish Presidency, means of addressing the root causes of migration will be on the agenda of the High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration, among other forums. The HLWG is also responsible for promoting cooperation between the EU and the African Union.
Focus on smooth return and repatriation policies
Not all countries of origin of asylum seekers are today willing to take back their own nationals who have been refused asylum in Europe and who do not return voluntarily. In efforts to solve this problem, the bilateral foreign relations of individual member states, the readmission agreements signed by the EU and various other cooperation arrangements are equally important. The EU seeks to settle return-related problems by offering incentives or using other means available in the fields of visa policy and trade policy, for example.
During its presidency, Finland will launch a discussion on how trade policy could serve to improve cooperation on migration, without compromising on the principles of free trade cherished by the EU. It is also important to facilitate the reintegration of returnees and, in this way, step up voluntary return and make it more durable. Closer cooperation between member states would be beneficial, because the practices of reintegration support today vary considerably.
Resettlement of refugees, or reception of quota refugees, could be envisaged as a more widely used means of providing protection in the EU member states. This would result in the need for protection being assessed closer to the countries of origin, making it more difficult for human smugglers to operate. It would also facilitate return and reintegration for those who are not in need of protection.
Resettlement could also serve as a tool in EU neighbourhood partnerships, as showcased by its current cooperation arrangement with Turkey. Good practices and identified challenges will be compiled during the Finnish Presidency, as the Commission is preparing a new resettlement programme for the EU.
Migration management requires comprehensive action
Managing migration has been one of the political priorities of the Juncker Commission, with the main objective of applying a comprehensive approach to the migration issue. Migration has become an increasingly complex phenomenon to which there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
A European Agenda on Migration was published by the European Commission on 13 May 2015. In addition to measures to address the migration crisis in the Mediterranean, it contains longer-term action to better manage migratory flows. The Commission has issued regular progress reports on the implementation of the Agenda.
European Commission: The European Agenda on Migration
Katri Niskanen, Chief Specialist, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 295 488 672, katri.niskanen(at)intermin.fi