Migration through the Mediterranean : which European responses ?
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The European Commission plans to reform the Return Directive and reinforce the Frontex Agency
During his State of the Union speech on the 12th of September, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, proposed to reform the Return Directive and reinforce Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
The Commission said that the proposal to revise the Return Directive, adopted in 2008, was motivated by a desire to improve migration management and to reduce illegal migration’s incentives. Among other things, it intends to introduce “simplified” return procedures for people whose asylum requests have been rejected at the border, a more effective voluntary return policy based on reintegration support and also increased detention grounds, with a proposal for a minimum detention period of three months.
This goes hand in hand with the reinforcement of Frontex, bolstered by a new permanent and independent corps of 10,000 operational personnel with new powers. To support this, the Commission also proposed that the operational capacities of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) be extended, transforming it into the European Union Asylum Agency. It would provide greater support to Member States throughout the asylum procedure – in particular, with the identification and registration of asylum requests.
And as they work to reduce irregular migration, the European Commission wish to reinforce their capacity for secure, legal movement. This initiative will focus on the creation of a new European Blue Card, designed to attract highly-skilled workers.
Italy, Spain, Greece and the countries in the Višegrad group are currently wary of any reinforcement of Frontex, seeing a potential threat to their territorial integrity.
This article was originally published in September in the “Veille Europe” of France terre d’asile, available in French HERE.