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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Protection of EU external borders

28-06-2019

The unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU, which peaked in 2015, exposed a series of deficiencies and gaps in EU policies on external borders. It affected the functioning of the Schengen rules, leading to the re-introduction of border checks by several Member States. In response to these challenges, as well as the surge in terrorist and serious cross-border crime activities, the EU has embarked on a broader process of reform aimed at strengthening its external borders ...

The unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU, which peaked in 2015, exposed a series of deficiencies and gaps in EU policies on external borders. It affected the functioning of the Schengen rules, leading to the re-introduction of border checks by several Member States. In response to these challenges, as well as the surge in terrorist and serious cross-border crime activities, the EU has embarked on a broader process of reform aimed at strengthening its external borders by reinforcing the links between border controls and security. On the one hand, measures for protecting the EU's external borders have focused on reinforcing EU border management rules, such as the Schengen Borders Code, and strengthening and upgrading the mandates of relevant EU agencies, such as Frontex, eu-LISA, Europol and EASO. On the other hand, in connection with a number of key shortcomings in the EU's information systems, efforts were made to improve use of the opportunities offered by information systems and technologies for security, criminal records, and border and migration management. This included strengthening existing IT systems (SIS II, VIS, Eurodac, ECRIS-TCN), establishing new ones (ETIAS, Entry/Exit System) and improving their interoperability. The broader mandate and the increase of activities in the area of EU border management is also reflected in the growing amounts, flexibility, and diversity of EU funds, inside and outside the current and future EU budget. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Interoperability between EU border and security information systems

14-06-2019

To enhance EU external border management and internal security, the European Commission has made several proposals to upgrade and expand European border and security information systems. As part of a broader process to maximise their use, the Commission presented legislative proposals for two regulations in December 2017 (amended in June 2018), establishing an interoperability framework between EU information systems on borders and visas, and on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration ...

To enhance EU external border management and internal security, the European Commission has made several proposals to upgrade and expand European border and security information systems. As part of a broader process to maximise their use, the Commission presented legislative proposals for two regulations in December 2017 (amended in June 2018), establishing an interoperability framework between EU information systems on borders and visas, and on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration. After completion of the legislative procedure at first reading in the Parliament and in the Council, the final acts were signed by the co-legislators on 20 May 2019 and published in the Official Journal two days later. Both acts came into force on 11 June 2019. The new rules aim to improve checks at the EU’s external borders, allow for better detection of security threats and identity fraud, and help in preventing and combating irregular migration. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Revision of the Community Code on Visas

12-04-2019

The European Union Code on Visas is one of the core elements of the EU's visa policy. It lays down the procedures and conditions for issuing short-stay visas for third-country nationals. On 14 March 2018, the Commission adopted a proposal to revise the Community Code on Visas (the visa code). The main objective of the proposal is to strengthen the common visa policy while addressing migration and security concerns. This will involve increasing the role of visa policy in the EU's cooperation with ...

The European Union Code on Visas is one of the core elements of the EU's visa policy. It lays down the procedures and conditions for issuing short-stay visas for third-country nationals. On 14 March 2018, the Commission adopted a proposal to revise the Community Code on Visas (the visa code). The main objective of the proposal is to strengthen the common visa policy while addressing migration and security concerns. This will involve increasing the role of visa policy in the EU's cooperation with third-countries, also taking economic considerations into account by facilitating the processing of visas for legitimate travellers who contribute to the EU's economy and its cultural and social development. After Parliament voted its position on the proposal in December 2018, trilogue negotiations brought an agreement on a compromise text in February. The plenary is due to vote on confirming this text during the April II plenary session. Second edition of a briefing originally drafted by Maria Margarita Mentzelopoulou and Costica Dumbrava. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Resettlement of refugees: EU framework

29-03-2019

Resettlement is one tool to help displaced persons in need of protection reach Europe safely and legally, and receive protection for as long as necessary. It is a durable solution which includes selection and transfer of refugees from a country where they seek protection to another country. Apart from providing international protection to refugees, its aim is also to strengthen solidarity and responsibility-sharing between countries. For a resettlement to take place, the United Nations Refugee Agency ...

Resettlement is one tool to help displaced persons in need of protection reach Europe safely and legally, and receive protection for as long as necessary. It is a durable solution which includes selection and transfer of refugees from a country where they seek protection to another country. Apart from providing international protection to refugees, its aim is also to strengthen solidarity and responsibility-sharing between countries. For a resettlement to take place, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has to determine an applicant is a refugee according to the 1951 Geneva Convention, and has to identify resettlement as the most appropriate solution. On 13 July 2016, as part of the reform of the Common European Asylum System and the long-term policy on better migration management, the Commission presented a proposal which aims to provide for a permanent framework with standard common procedures for resettlement across the EU, and will complement current national and multilateral resettlement initiatives. Although a partial provisional agreement on the proposal was reached between the Parliament and Council in summer 2018, the Council has been unable to endorse that, nor agree on a mandate for further negotiations.

Reception of asylum-seekers - recast Directive

29-03-2019

States must treat asylum-seekers and refugees according to the appropriate standards laid down in human rights and refugee law. The current migration crisis revealed wide divergences in the level of reception conditions provided by Member States. While some are facing problems in ensuring adequate and dignified treatment of applicants, in others the standards of reception provided are more generous. This has led to secondary movements of asylum-seekers and refugees, and has put pressure on certain ...

States must treat asylum-seekers and refugees according to the appropriate standards laid down in human rights and refugee law. The current migration crisis revealed wide divergences in the level of reception conditions provided by Member States. While some are facing problems in ensuring adequate and dignified treatment of applicants, in others the standards of reception provided are more generous. This has led to secondary movements of asylum-seekers and refugees, and has put pressure on certain Member States. The aim of the proposed recast directive, which would replace the current Reception Conditions Directive, is to ensure greater harmonisation of reception standards and more equal treatment of asylum-seekers across all Member States, as well as to avoid ‘asylum shopping’ whereby asylum-seekers choose the Member State with the highest protection standards for their application. Although the co-legislators reached provisional agreement on the proposal in trilogue, Coreper was not able to confirm the Council’s support for that text and trilogue negotiations have yet to restart. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Common Provisions Regulation: New rules for cohesion policy for 2021-2027

22-03-2019

For the next EU budget, covering the 2021-2027 period, the European Commission proposes to update EU cohesion policy with a new set of rules. The proposal for a Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) sets out common provisions for seven shared management funds: the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Social Fund Plus, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Internal Security Fund and the Border Management and Visa Instrument. Additional ...

For the next EU budget, covering the 2021-2027 period, the European Commission proposes to update EU cohesion policy with a new set of rules. The proposal for a Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) sets out common provisions for seven shared management funds: the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Social Fund Plus, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Internal Security Fund and the Border Management and Visa Instrument. Additional specific regulations add certain provisions needed to cater for the particularities of individual funds, in order to take into account their different rationales, target groups and implementation methods. The proposed CPR is of the utmost importance as it will set the main rules that govern the above-mentioned funds for the forthcoming period. While the proposal builds upon the previous sets of rules covering the 2014-2020 period, it nevertheless introduces a number of innovations. It aims, amongst other things, to simplify and improve synergies between the different EU policy tools. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Reform of the Dublin system

01-03-2019

The refugee and migrant crisis in Europe has exposed the need for reform of the Common European Asylum System, in general, and of the Dublin rules, in particular. The Commission’s proposal of 4 May 2016 to reform the Dublin system would not change the existing criteria for determining which Member State is responsible for examining an asylum application. Instead of a fundamental overhaul of the Dublin regime, as suggested by Parliament, the Commission proposed to streamline and supplement the current ...

The refugee and migrant crisis in Europe has exposed the need for reform of the Common European Asylum System, in general, and of the Dublin rules, in particular. The Commission’s proposal of 4 May 2016 to reform the Dublin system would not change the existing criteria for determining which Member State is responsible for examining an asylum application. Instead of a fundamental overhaul of the Dublin regime, as suggested by Parliament, the Commission proposed to streamline and supplement the current rules with a corrective allocation mechanism. This mechanism would be triggered automatically were a Member State to be faced with disproportionate numbers of asylum-seekers. If a Member State decided not to accept the allocation of asylum-seekers from another one under pressure, a ‘solidarity contribution’ per applicant would have to be made instead. An agreement on the balance between responsibility and solidarity regarding the distribution of asylum-seekers will be a cornerstone for the new EU asylum policy. Although Parliament’s LIBE committee adopted its positon in autumn 2017, the Council has been unable to reach a position on the proposal.

Foreign policy and defence challenges [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-01-2019

The European Union will face increasingly serious foreign policy and defence challenges in 2019. The current Administration in the United States seems to be abandoning its traditional role of ‘benign protector’ of the rules-based international order. Russia, according to many analysts, continues to try to undermine the democratic process in many Western countries, and China’s foreign policy is becoming more and more assertive, notably in the economic field. Furthermore, migration, Brexit and cybersecurity ...

The European Union will face increasingly serious foreign policy and defence challenges in 2019. The current Administration in the United States seems to be abandoning its traditional role of ‘benign protector’ of the rules-based international order. Russia, according to many analysts, continues to try to undermine the democratic process in many Western countries, and China’s foreign policy is becoming more and more assertive, notably in the economic field. Furthermore, migration, Brexit and cybersecurity, as well as a lack of EU unity on certain issues, also feature amongst key challenges. This note offers links to recent selected commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on EU foreign and defence policies. Links to more reports on President Donald Trump’s policies, Russia, EU-China relations and NATO are available in previous items in this series, published last year.

A global compact on migration: Placing human rights at the heart of migration management

11-01-2019

The global flow of refugees and migrants poses challenges, opportunities and obligations for countries around the world. At the very heart of the debate on migration management is how to ensure that the different interests and needs are addressed within a strong human rights framework. The United Nations (UN) is investigating the issue in great depth, and one of the main outcomes of the UN General Assembly in 2016 was a declaration demanding greater international cooperation on managing migration ...

The global flow of refugees and migrants poses challenges, opportunities and obligations for countries around the world. At the very heart of the debate on migration management is how to ensure that the different interests and needs are addressed within a strong human rights framework. The United Nations (UN) is investigating the issue in great depth, and one of the main outcomes of the UN General Assembly in 2016 was a declaration demanding greater international cooperation on managing migration. This declaration was widely endorsed, including by the European Union (EU). As a result, two global compacts have been adopted in 2018, for refugees and for other migrants; this briefing will focus on the latter. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN migration agency in charge of the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, these compacts 'provide the opportunity to move ahead in strengthening the norms, principles, rules and decision-making processes that will allow for more effective international cooperation in responding to what is a defining issue'. Providing continued institutional support to address these issues and implement the outcomes of the global compacts will be a challenge. This an updated version of a briefing from December 2017, jointly authored by Joanna Apap, Daniela Adorna Diaz and Gonzalo Urbina Trevino. See also our infographic, Migration flows to the EU, PE 621.862.

European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA)

18-12-2018

The European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) is responsible for the operational management of the three large-scale EU information systems: the Schengen Information System (SIS II), the Visa Information System (VIS), and Eurodac. The Commission proposed to strengthen the mandate of eu-LISA, as part of a broader set of measures aimed at addressing current migration and security challenges by making better use of ...

The European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) is responsible for the operational management of the three large-scale EU information systems: the Schengen Information System (SIS II), the Visa Information System (VIS), and Eurodac. The Commission proposed to strengthen the mandate of eu-LISA, as part of a broader set of measures aimed at addressing current migration and security challenges by making better use of information technologies. Adopted by parliament and Council in autumn 2018, the Agency’s new tasks, applicable from 11 December 2018, include ensuring interoperability of EU information systems, upgrade of existing and development of future systems and technical and operational support to Member States. Second edition of a briefing originally drafted by Costica Dumbrava. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

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