Facing Migrations together in the European Union
Giovanni Dal Prà
Migration is a controversial topic that has been tackled at national, European, and international levels. There are many economic and non-economic determinants of it and the consequences are relevant both in departure and arrival countries, and indeed the phenomenon needs to be analysed from different perspectives. Social and economic integration of migrants is a challenge for the host country and for migrants themselves ince it may not be immediate. However, it represents an opportunity because new people bring new knowledge, ideas, and resources, which can benefit society and the job market.
In the last decades, Europe has been the scene of shipwrecks and losses of numerous lives, as well as many non-regular entries of third-country people, who do not satisfy the condition for a legal stay in the EU territory. Even though Member States are primary actors in making migration policies and in the governance of migration flows, the EU still has a primary role in sustaining through funding, general policies and guidelines. Therefore, European Union established a common legal framework setting the entry and residence conditions for non-EU citizens, having then a common policy among Member States regarding legal migrations, trying to exploit the social and economic potential of migrants and dealing with the weaknesses. European Council issued the need to face migration through a comprehensive approach to defending EU borders both on land and sea. Afterward, European Commission responded with the Communication of the 14th of March carrying out the first multiannual strategic policy and a Recommendation which was analysed and discussed in the previous article of this series.
Via Unsplash/ Matt Brown
The above-mentioned Communication from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council is a five-year European strategic plan, called European Integrated Border Management (EIBM) that is prepared to face the challenge of international migrations at different levels using a comprehensive approach. This plan is required to coordinate Member Countries in the EU border defence to ensure security, to protect bona-fide travellers, and address issues and threats of efficient migration management. Moreover, coordination with third countries is also crucial and needs to be increased to effectively implement this policy in the long term and to develop trust among European citizens about managing migrations.
The Commission policy guidelines and strategic priorities for the EIBM establish strong cooperation and shared responsibility between Member State authorities and Frontex, together called the European Board and Coast Guard. Therefore, it is stressed the importance of having a clear comprehensive understanding of what is going on at the border of Member States, to promptly intervene to respond to any emerging threats. This can be done whether the above-called European Board and Coast Guard can work through a coordinated and integrated planning system in the Member States. Hence more investments in border protection infrastructures and different means of surveillance, such as aerial and equipment surveillance, are needed to be done. Moreover, the European Board and Coast Guard also should promote a common border guard culture and a high level of professionalism with high ethical values and integrity.
The Commission reiterates the necessity of a common EU system for returns, to speed up the non-regular returns of migrants according to EU law and to increase the effective number of returns. To do that, Member States should take advantage of the support given by Frontex in the organization of return operations and in the digitalization of the return case management system developed by Frontex itself. However, concerning this topic the Commission has issued a Recommendation explained in the first article of this series, which needs to be followed and implemented by Member States together with the Communication.
Via Unsplash/ ev
Cooperation seems to be the key factor to face migrations and border control, both at the internal and external levels. Making agreements with third countries and building a solid relationship between Frontex border guards and border guards from third countries is essential to fight irregular migration and criminal activities. For this purpose, further agreements with third countries have been concluded in the last months by the Commission and the network between Frontex and local authorities in third countries has been expanded. On the other side, inter-agency cooperation inside the EU is also necessary, and this includes strengthening the relations and coordination between border management authorities and other competent authorities at the national level. Intelligence-led activities should be used as a measure to strengthen the better monitoring of the movement of passengers within EU territory. At the end, the Commission accentuates that the European Border and Coast Guard must respect fundamental peoples’ rights carrying out their activities and while EIBM implementation, such as the respect of non-refoulment principle, in compliance with European and international law.
The analysed Communication outlines a shared vision between the EU institutions of the management of border and migration flows in Europe. It stresses the importance of having a common strategy and framework to face migrations, and to have a more efficient policy that balances the needs of migrants and Member countries. However, this policy has to be put into practice by the European Border and Coast Guard, and in particular, Frontex has to develop and adopt a new technical and operational strategy within six months. On the other side, Member States must carry out a new national strategy according to the EU policy given by the Communication within twelve months as well. National border control has to be considered fundamental for the protection and safety of a country. Internal coordination and cooperation with Third Countries can help to control the migrations and their governance. However, migration flows are hard to monitor since lots of resources are required and they will probably happen anyways despite the decisions and policies adopted by countries. Due to this reason, he EIBM policy is a necessary instrument for the next years, but at the same time, other legal migration paths need to be thought and implemented of by the European Union, giving people the possibility to arrive in Europe safely and creating favourable conditions to get access to education and labour market, to make migrants able to integrate in the society and contribute to the social and economic development of Europe.
 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council establishing the multiannual strategic policy for European integrated border management.