Evolution of migration in the EU

Emigration has and will always be part of the human evolution. It is the only way we the citizens of the world could have built nations with communities filled with diverse cultures and norms that define us as a society. However, somewhere along the line, we started to build imaginary borders that led to ignorance and miscommunication between nations that have resulted in some of the most significant destructions humanity has seemed, World War I and World War II. 

The first step Europe took to establish harmony and a union among the countries was in 1945, with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbors, which culminated in the Second World War. Ever since the Second World War ended, Europe has been facing the worst refugee crises since. In 1950 the foundation of the European Union was formed through an alliance among the six countries. Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. From here onwards the European Union started to widen its horizons, to become the most significant governing system to influence Europe.

The European Flag

“Europe should continue to be a safe haven for those fleeing persecution as well as an attractive destination for the talent and entrepreneurship of students, researchers and workers. Upholding our international commitments and values while securing our borders and at the same time creating the right conditions for Europe’s economic prosperity and societal cohesion is a difficult balancing act that requires coordinated action at the European level.” – European Commission

European Unions’ main objective when it comes to immigration, is to find a balanced approach. To understand the conditions and situations the migrants have been through, and to establish solidarity between the immigrants and the nations that are willing to welcome them.

The principle of solidarity: under the Lisbon Treaty, immigration policies are to be governed by the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, including its financial implications, between the Member States (Article 80 TFEU).

The Global Approach to Migrants and Mobility (GAMM) is based on four pillars: regular immigrants and mobility, irregular immigrants and trafficking in human beings, international protection and asylum policy, and maximizing the impact of immigration and mobility on development.

EU agenda takes care of the four pillars by making sure they reduce the incentive for irregular immigration, securing the borders and saving lives, actualizing a strong common asylum policy. For the smooth and beneficial integration of regular migrants, the EU will revise and modernize the ‘blue card’ system.

Immigration crisis

In the past few years, Europe has received a substantial amount of immigrants to which they have always attended to and had an agenda that would conceive a work frame to help neighboring countries tackle the regular and irregular influx of immigrants.   

However, in 2015 an unimaginable number of asylum seekers and immigrant arrived in Europe, over 1.2 million. This influx tore apart the asylum system, which exposed serious flaws.

In 2015, the highest number of first time applicants was registered in Germany (with 441 800 first time applicants, or 35% of all first time applicants in the EU Member States), followed by Hungary (174 400, or 14%), Sweden (156 100, or 12%), Austria (85 500, or 7%), Italy (83 200, or 7%) and France (70 600, or 6%). Compared with the previous year, the number of first-time asylum applicants in 2015 increased the most in Finland (+822%), ahead of Hungary (+323%), Austria (+233%), Belgium (+178%), Spain (+167%) and Germany (+155%).

In 2015 and 2016, more than 2.3 million illegal crossings were detected by Frontex, the EU border surveillance agency. The crisis underlined weakness like mistrust between the Member States and the failings of the design and implementation of the system, and of the ‘Dublin’ arrangements in particular. The Dublin agreement was not created to sustain a long term of incoming asylum seekers. The crisis also revealed that only some member state were taking in refugees that were coming from specific migratory routes, which put a strain on their asylum system.

A fare and distributed framework.

After the Dublin agreement was deiced to be unsuitable, the EU agreed to amend the regulation by either streamlining and supplementing it with a corrective fairness mechanism or moving to a new system based on a distribution key. It was also suggested to reinforce the EURODAC system for asylum seekers that would register them into the database with their fingerprint, so that in the future they would be able to expand its purpose beyond asylum.

To ensure a sustainable asylum system the EU proposed a new Asylum Procedures and Qualification Regulations as well as the Reception Conditions Directive, to discourage and sanction irregular moves to the other Member States. So that Member States do not face irregular immigration. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) was also proposed to be amended so that it can play a useful role in policy -implementation and as well as a strengthened operational role and providing sufficient financial resources and legal means for that purpose.

How much did the EU spend on refugee camps, asylums, regular and irregular immigrants?

The budget allocated for the stabilization and integration of asylum seeker and refuges is a very confusing and complex situation. The amount allocated to specific cause changes over time, usually it increases, due to the fact that new and different situation appears.

“EU spends on home affairs, which also includes the financing of relevant EU agencies, amounting to a total budget of €9.26 billion for the 2014-2020 period. In particular, Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) has a budget of €3.14 billion, and Internal Security Fund (ISF) Borders and Visa has a budget of €2.76 billion, amounting to €5.9 billion in total.”

Apart from the Member States, the EU also took into account other nations that were suffering from the immigration crisis and made sure they don’t stand alone. In 2015, more than one million people arrived in Europe, a large proportion of them having traveled along the eastern route through Turkey, Greece, and the Balkans. On 29, November of 2016 the EU and Turkey joined hands to form rules and regulations that would solve the influx of irregular immigration that is coming from the Mediterranean Sea.

Greek parliament to vote on EU-Turkey migrant accord

For the project to go forward EU has allocated 3 billion Euros. Turkey decided to allow the Syrian refugees to work in the labor market under temporary protection, new visa requirements for the diver’s nationalities were introduced and turkeys efforts to secure their coast was enhanced. On 7 March 2016, Turkey furthermore agreed to accept the rapid return of all migrants not in need of international protection crossing from Turkey into Greece and to take back all irregular migrants intercepted in Turkish waters.

Integration of immigrants

For the integration of immigrants and refugees in society and to able to start working, the EU has to assure a strategy against Trafficking in Human Beings and the exploitations of the employees. Whilst promoting better integration into the labor market of legal migrants, the Commission will step up action against illegal employment of third-country nationals. A resolution was also brought forward in 2016 by the Parliament for the EU to foresee the importance of education and sport and called on EU countries to help migrant teachers and professors find teaching jobs. 

However, these resolutions and projects can only be successful if each individual Member State takes responsibility and make sure they undergo the specific procedures.  Around 20% of European Social Fund has been allocated to the social inclusion, the funds can support targeted initiatives to improve language and professional skills, improve access to services, promote access to the labor market, inclusive education foster inter-cultural exchanges and promote awareness campaigns targeting both host communities and migrants.

Immigration in 2018

In 2018 the problem still remains, even if the number the number of immigrants has fallen in comparison to the last 3 years, everyone still agrees that this situation is still not dealt with properly, the rules and regulation concerning asylums. At present Spain, Italy and Greece take most of the strain owing to their geographical position on the Mediterranean Sea and the fact that, under EU law, asylum seekers must lodge their applications in the first EU country they enter.

” The future of the European Union hinges on whether it can find answers to the “vital questions” posed by migration, but although leaders agree on the need to ease the burden on Italy and Greece, details are scarce.” – Angela Merkel

Published by Maria Cazacu on the 24 of January, 2019