The European Union has taken stock of the past four years of its migration agenda. The EU executive summarized progress made and set out new measures that are still needed to address the immediate and future challenges. The most pressing issues that need further work are the cooperation with Morocco, improving the conditions along the Central Mediterranean route, migration management in Greece and temporary arrangement following disembarkation.
The EU sees the cooperation with Morocco as key to continued progress in the area of migration management. This will also include the ongoing implementation of the 140 million euro program to support border management as well as a resumption of negotiations on readmission. Regarding the Central Mediterranean route, the EU wants to focus on improving the conditions in Libya through the AU-EU-UN trilateral talks, which are meant to help free migrants from detention and facilitate their voluntary return.
As to Greece, the Commission believes that the country should establish migration management tools. While the EU-Turkey agreement that is still in place is making a continuous progress at reducing the number of arrivals on the Greek Islands, key problems remain unresolved such as asylum processing, returns and accommodation. Also, responding to “fake news” and “misinformation” about the issue, especially in social media, the Executive has also formally declared the migration crisis over, with Frans Timmermans, the Commission’s first vice-president, stressing that “Europe is no longer experiencing the migration crisis we lived in 2015, but structural problems remain.”
Temporary arrangements for disembarkation are also on the urgent side. Learning from ad hoc solutions deployed in 2018 and January 2019, temporary arrangements can provide a more systematic approach on disembarkation. To tackle migration, a comprehensive and holistic approach is the only solution. Over the past four years, the EU has tackled migration through four key areas – EU Emergency Trust for Africa, fight against smuggling, return and readmission and proposal on return aimed at limiting abuse and absconding of returnees within the EU.