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Press Release: Hitting the reset button for a new EU migration policy

13 May 2019

ICMPD is teaming up with its Member States to draw up migration policy recommendations for the next EU Commission

Europe is arriving at a crucial point in 2019 in terms of finally overcoming its reactive approach after the 2015/16 crisis and developing a future-oriented policy. The new EU Parliament and the new EU Commission must have the necessary groundwork laid from the outset in order to take prompt decisions and actions. 

The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) believes the decisive prerequisite for a well-functioning EU migration policy is to reconcile the diverging positions on this subject. To do so, everyone involved must push the reset button together and leave all biases behind. Given its widely varying Member States – from Turkey to Poland to Sweden or Switzerland – ICMPD will develop a broad foundation for recommendations for the new EU leadership with this objective in mind.

Director General Michael Spindelegger explained ICMPD’s special approach: “We can cover both the EU perspective and viewpoints that go beyond it. After all, it is only in tandem with neighboring countries such as the Western Balkans or Turkey that we can come up with a holistic picture and start to bring about practical solutions.”  

This process of hitting the reset button for a new EU migration policy takes place at three main levels. First, the overarching goals must be jointly defined. Second, the external dimension must be addressed, and finally, it is crucial to clarify the internal dimension within which the greatest need for action undoubtedly exists.

The priority issues are to ensure the international protection of refugees, secure external borders, improve efficiency in return operations, bring about international cooperation, and deal with demographic developments and the lack of skilled labor.

With the first seven rounds of consultation now over, structural recommendations are already emerging. To achieve maximum coherence within the subject of migration, some suggestions are being floated. One of the most crucial is at Commission level and entails elevating the EU Commissioner for Migration to the status of a Vice President of the EU Commission. Certain guiding principles are also coalescing within the debate. For instance, the Schengen Agreement is understood as being an absolute priority and non-negotiable.

After the consultations on hitting the reset button for a new EU migration policy are concluded with the ICMPD Member States and a select group of stakeholders, the recommendations will be finalized by the end of June and submitted to the new EU leadership. An ensuing presentation and discussion of the recommendations involving experts and politicians will then be undertaken at the Vienna Migration Conference 2019, which is to be held for the fourth time on 21 and 22 November.