A global and pragmatic approach to migration
Europe is facing one of the greatest migration challenges since the Second World War. The causes are known: changing geostrategic interests, armed conflicts, dictatorships, human rights violations, poor governance, environmental degradation, climate change, endemic poverty. The measures adopted in recent years have been unilateral and have yielded few results at a high cost. These are specific measures that have shown that the effects of immigration cannot be treated separately. Migration requires a comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses challenges while exploiting the benefits of immigration. Local and regional levels must be integrated into decision-making processes. Regions and local authorities are indeed close to possible problems, needs and the real situation of the labour market. This knowledge is a key element in humanising migration policy.
This new and comprehensive approach of the EDP should be based on the following axes:
a) Common management of external borders:
We must reform Schengen. The EDP supports the establishment of common standards for controls carried out at the external borders and the establishment of an integrated system for the management of these borders. High seas search and rescue programmes and the fight against criminal networks involved in the trafficking of human beings must be carried out in a coordinated manner and Frontex's actions through Eurosur (European Coastal Surveillance System) must be intensified, allowing Member States to share images and data on the situation at external borders in real time.
b) Cooperation with countries of origin and transit:
Prevention at source is fundamental to curbing the massive arrival of immigrants on European coasts. Such cooperation must take place in various areas to manage migration flows in order to guarantee peace and security, promote democratic consolidation and stimulate economic growth beyond development assistance. The new Migration Partnership Framework Programme approved by the Union in July 2016 was positively evaluated in September 2017, so we propose to take this programme forward, deepen its implementation in priority countries and extend it to more countries. With regard to the deployment of experts in countries of origin and transit, the Union maintains military and civilian training and democratic support missions in several countries, which should be expanded and deepened. Finally, we support awareness raising and the dissemination of accurate information in countries of origin on the risks and costs associated with irregular crossings and stays in Europe, relying on the emigrants themselves who have had these terrible experiences.
c) The fight against the illegal trafficking of immigrants:
Almost 90% of migrants who reach Europe's coasts reach them through the intermediary of local mafias linked to the various organised crime organisations around the world involved in the trafficking of human beings, drug trafficking or money laundering. It is therefore necessary to consider a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and cross-border approach, strengthening operational cooperation to investigate, prosecute and sanction these activities, monitor their financial flows and use technological developments to detect fraud in the field of documents, intensify the mechanisms provided for in the Action Plan against Trafficking in Migrants and in the framework of Eurojust on the Smuggling of Migrants in order to identify obstacles in the field of prosecution and judicial cooperation.
d) Promotion of return, readmission and reintegration policies.
An effective and human-centred return policy is a key deterrent to illegal immigration, both for immigrants and for mafias and international criminal organisations. At the moment, the return policy is not fully effective and traffickers know this. It is therefore necessary to improve these mechanisms applied by Member States in a very disparate way. We should start by intensifying operational cooperation and the exchange of good practices between Member States, EU agencies and migrants' countries of origin. Member States should make greater use of the potential of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency by giving it the right to repatriate rescued immigrants to ports in safe countries, as well as the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund to support return activities. To this end, FRONTEX's human resources should be increased, given that the target of 10,000 members in 2027 is too far away. It is also essential to make a clear legal distinction between the responsibilities and rights of humanitarian NGOs, European agencies and Member State authorities.
e) Harmonisation of the right of Asylum
The refugee crisis has proven that the current system is inadequate to meet needs. Asylum seekers are not uniformly processed from one Member State to another. "This encourages secondary movements, ""asylum on demand"", abuses of the asylum system and the submission of applications in several countries already saturated by the current migratory pressure, which has led some of them to re-establish controls at internal borders. There is a need to review asylum rules to ensure that responsibilities are shared and that no country is under any further migratory pressure to provide better conditions. The reform would make the asylum system more efficient, making it easier to combat abuses. The revision of the system should allow for greater consistency in asylum procedures, in the conditions for obtaining international protection and in reception conditions. The reform of the Dublin Regulation, a key element of the common asylum system, must be completed because it determines which country is responsible.