In his 2018 State of the European Union (SOTEU) speech, Jean-Claude Juncker presented three new and ambitious proposals to ensure full EU solidarity on migration and better protection of Europe's external borders.
These new initiatives were presented one week ahead of the Informal Meeting in Salzburg, during which tempers frayed and the dialogue wasn’t very fruitful. Junker’s speech is a contribution to the discussions that EU Leaders are expected to have on migration. They are intended to facilitate an overall compromise on the ongoing reform of the EU's asylum system.
The SOTEU proposals set a new level of ambition for the European Border and Coast Guard and the EU's Agency for Asylum, reinforcing both to ensure that Member States can rely on full EU operational support at all times. The Commission is also today proposing to improve the effectiveness of return procedures, updating existing EU rules on return, and setting out the next steps on legal migration, an essential component of a balanced migration policy.
What President Junker forgot to underline is the need for less nationalism and the anti-migrant propaganda currently fostered by the growing European far right. The urgent reform of the Dublin Regulation has also been blocked in the last month by national egoisms and the resettlement policies have caused stress and disappointment for some European governments.
SOLIDAR is deeply concerned about the importance that President Junker gives to the European Border and Coast Guard as it may become a double-edged sword if we consider it a security-based approach instead of a humanitarian one. Sea rescue should not be a police operation, treating migration as a crime more than as a right.
At the same time, SOLIDAR believes that a return policy should be aimed at developing the countries of origin, promoting their sustainable development, social inclusion and the respect of human rights rather than a ‘deportation’ from Europe to their countries of origin of migrants and asylum seekers.