After a 12-hour negotiation between EU leaders, participants of the June 28 EU Summit reached a compromise in the early hours of Friday over the conclusions of the Brussels meeting. Migration topped the main results’ text.
According to what the text contains, European leaders decided to give Turkey the second tranche of 3 billion euros, the financial support of African countries, the creation of closed centres for migrants -on a voluntary basis- stricter controls of the external borders of the bloc and boost the monitoring of the Mediterranean Sea and migrant trafficking.
Main results on Migration
Further to the decision to fully apply the Schengen Borders Code and the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement of 18 March 2016, crossings from Turkey to the Greek islands have sharply decreased and have now almost come to a halt. It is important to continue working actively to further stabilise the situation and to ensure a sustainable solution. The legislation recently adopted by Turkey on the treatment of both Syrians and other nationalities allows for the return of migrants to Turkey in full respect of the provisions on inadmissibility under the Asylum Procedures Directive. Considerable progress has been made by both sides to implement the full range of action points contained in the EU-Turkey statement and the European Council looks forward to further determined action. The European Council recalls the need to provide continued support to Western Balkan countries, including in their fight against smugglers, and to remain vigilant about potential developments regarding other routes so as to be able to take rapid and concerted action. Further action is required to accelerate the implementation of the existing relocation and resettlement schemes.
2. In the Central Mediterranean, flows of predominantly economic migrants remain at the same level as last year. The flows must be reduced, thus saving lives and breaking the business model of smugglers. The relevant security procedures must be fully applied to ensure full control over external borders. Delivering rapid results in preventing illegal migration and returning irregular migrants requires an effective Partnership Framework of cooperation with individual countries of origin or transit. This will contribute towards the implementation of the Valletta Action Plan, which should be stepped up. Building on the Commission communication, the EU will put into place and swiftly implement this Framework based on effective incentives and adequate conditionality, starting with a limited number of priority countries of origin and transit, with the following objectives:
• to pursue specific and measurable results in terms of fast and operational returns of
irregular migrants, including by applying temporary arrangements, pending the conclusion of full-fledged readmission agreements;
• to create and apply the necessary leverage, by using all relevant EU policies, instruments and tools, including development and trade;
• to also mobilise elements falling within Member States’ competence and to seek synergies with Member States in relations with the specific countries. Cooperation on readmission and return will be a key test of the partnership between the EU and these partners.
3. The High Representative, including in her role as Vice-President of the Commission, will lead the implementation of this new approach and ensure close and effective coordination between the EU institutions and services and the Member States, with a view to concluding the first compacts before the end of the year. The Council and the Commission will regularly monitor the process, assess its results and report to the European Council.
4. All relevant instruments and sources of funding should be mobilised in a coherent manner in support of the approach set out above. The Council is invited to rapidly examine the proposals made by the Commission to that effect. In addition:
• the European Investment Bank’s initiative in the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkan countries, as a first step in the new framework of cooperation, will help to foster investment in partner countries and has our full support. To implement this initiative swiftly, the Council is asked to rapidly explore how to provide the required resources;
• the Commission is invited to present by September 2016 a proposal for an ambitious External Investment Plan, which should be examined as a matter of priority by the European Parliament and the Council. Complementarity among all the above initiatives must be ensured.
5. The approach set out above will be dynamic and will be extended if necessary to other countries or regions to reflect migration flows.
6. The EU and its Member States will continue to address the root causes of illegal migration, in close cooperation and in a spirit of mutual ownership with the countries of origin.
7. Ahead of the upcoming G20 Summit and the UN General Assembly High-Level meeting on large movements of refugees and migrants, the European Council recalls that migration is a global challenge that requires a strong response from the international community.
8. The European Council will continue to address and monitor all aspects of the EU’s comprehensive approach to the migration challenge, as set out in the European Council conclusions of October 2015, and to define the general political directions and priorities.
Recalling the need to reinforce the control of the EU’s external borders to meet both migration and security objectives, it welcomes the political agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard proposal and asks for its swift adoption and rapid implementation…. / IBNA
Main Photo: The French President Emmanuel Macron talks with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel