Schengen hardened but economic immigration opened

by Giuseppe Terranova - 2017.09.28
Schengen hardened but economic immigration opened
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In Europe, a new wind is blowing with respect to immigration. Reading the document released yesterday by the European Commission we discover that, for the first time after many years, more is being done than patching up the holes at the last minute. The Commission is looking ahead with a broad ranging programme that can be summarised in five points.

1) Opening legal channels for the entrance of economic immigrants coming from those countries who have shown that that are not willing to accept the repatriation of their citizens who have illegally entered the EU. By far and large, this is the greatest change arriving from the EU executive. Until today, it was more concerned with creating norms and security strategies to combat illegal influxes.

2) Exploring, in collaboration with private and corporate sponsors, legal channels for the entrance of refugees. By 2019 an EU allocation of half a billion Euro for selection of immigrants in the countries of origin for redistribution in Europe in collaboration with UNHCR.

3) Guaranteeing solidarity to the countries more exposed to migratory pressure. The obligation to redistribute the 160,000 refugees arrived in Greece and Italy, ended on the 26 September 2017 with a very low number of transfers, less than 30,000. In this light, the Commission has asked for the reformation of the Dublin Regulation that with the prohibition of requesting asylum in the first country of arrival has transferred the weight of the humanitarian emergency onto Mediterranean Europe. In the meantime, it supports and incentivizes the countries that decide on a voluntary basis to share with Rome and Athens the duty of accepting those fleeing war and persecution.

4) Improving and strengthening the capacity of the member countries to repatriate illegal immigrants. Given that almost 70%, with the expulsion order in pocket, are illegally resident in the EU.

5) Supporting and encouraging investment and development in Africa.

The Brussels document will perhaps not be a revolution. However, it is certainly a step in the right direction. It is a change in focus from emergency to governance of the migratory flows. It takes into consideration that what has been happening in the Mediterranean since the Arab Spring of 2011 is not an exception. Rather, it is the start of a complex of challenges that the African continent at the height of a demographic boom poses to the Old Continent.

Published in Espace Schengen.
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