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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 European Commission presented a proposal to provide for a permanent framework with standard common procedures for resettlement across the EU, to complement current national and multilateral resettlement initiatives. Resettlement is a tool to help displaced persons in need of protection reach Europe safely and legally, and receive protection for as long as necessary ...

In December 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal to amend the Schengen Borders Code, which lays down the rules governing controls at the EU internal and external borders. While debates on the reform of Schengen have been going on for a while, recent challenges – relating to the coronavirus pandemic on the one hand, and attempts to instrumentalise migrants as a way to put pressure on the EU's external borders, on the other – have created new momentum for reform. The Commission's proposal ...

In November 2023, the Commission proposed a directive to modernise and strengthen the legal framework on the fight against migrant smuggling. The proposal addresses the steady rise in irregular arrivals in the EU and the rise in smuggling on all main EU entry routes. The current directive defining the offence of facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence in the EU, and the framework decision on strengthening of the penal framework have both been widely criticised for their failure ...

In September 2020, the Commission put forward a new pact on migration and asylum, setting out a comprehensive approach to European Union (EU) migration policies that links external borders, asylum, return systems, the Schengen area of free movement and the external dimension of migration. The pact includes a proposal for a new regulation on the screening of third-country nationals at external borders aiming to clarify and streamline the rules on dealing with third-country nationals who are not authorised ...

In November 2023, the European Commission presented a proposal to reinforce the role of Europol, the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, in the fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings. With detections of irregular border crossings at the EU's external borders at their highest levels since 2016 and demand for migration facilitation services following suit, the Commission sees an urgent need to step up the prevention, detection and investigation of these crimes. Europol's ...

Is the EU facing a migration crisis? Are the EU's borders on the brink of collapse because of increased irregular migration? Would border fences help to stop or reduce irregular migration? How many of the world's refugees and asylum seekers are headed towards the EU? Are the protection claims of asylum seekers genuine, or is subterfuge used to gain access to the EU? And what happened with the Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war into the EU? These are among the most common and important questions shaping ...

As the European Union's only directly elected institution, the European Parliament stands at the heart of European representative democracy, the foundation upon which the EU is built. Since its creation, the Parliament's powers have evolved significantly, and it is now a fully fledged legislative body and forum for discussion and engagement, whose influence is felt in virtually all areas of EU activity. This paper offers an overview of the European Parliament's main powers, demonstrating how they ...

In May 2023, the European Commission tabled a customs reform package. Key to the reform is the proposal to establish an EU customs authority, which would oversee a new EU customs data hub. This would entail a more centralised and digitalised approach to customs, which should lower compliance costs for traders and ensure a more efficient, fraud-proof customs union. The proposal follows the ordinary legislative procedure. Parliament is due to vote on its first-reading report during the March plenary ...

In 2016, with unprecedented numbers of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers arriving in the EU, the European Commission proposed a package of reforms to the common European asylum system (CEAS). In June 2018, a broad provisional agreement was reached between the European Parliament and the presidency of the Council of the EU on several of the reform proposals. However, the agreement did not get the necessary support from the Member States. The reform stalled owing to persistent disagreements among ...

This study provides a comprehensive exploration of measures aimed at facilitating access to and expanding support for human rights defenders (HRDs) in the European Union (EU). Its introduction deals with the fundamental issue of defining HRDs which, in turn, will enable visa, borders and migration officers to apply the various recommendations here proposed. The subsequent section delves into the EU’s Visa Code and Handbook, proposing substantial changes to accommodate the needs of HRDs seeking entry ...