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A week after Von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech, which highlighted migration as one of the key challenges the EU will need to address in the coming years, the European Commission presented its new Pact on Migration and Asylum, asking for a “fresh start” to pursue this complex task with responsibility and in solidarity of all Member States (MSs).
The Pact is based on extensive consultations with the European Parliament, MSs, social and economic partners and stakeholders, and is a proposal for a more holistic, coordinated and comprehensive migration management system within the EU and with external partners. It calls for a more integrated approach in border procedures, which would allow for faster and more efficient identity checks and decisions on asylum (or return). For this to happen, shared responsibility and solidarity among Member States comes as a sine qua non, and the Commission’s proposal offers flexible contributions – based on mutual support among MSs, country-relevant national policies guided by a European strategy and more systematic monitoring by the Commission. A set of legislative and operative measures proposed should ensure better preparedness for potential crises and a more robust response system. In addition, the Pact foresees cooperation with “third countries” on preventing illicit activities and developing legal pathways, especially with the neighbouring countries and regions, such as the Western Balkans, Turkey and North Africa.
One of the proposed measures to facilitate legal migration is Talent Partnerships to address the labour and skills needs in the EU, which would imply stronger mutual commitment and cooperation on legal migration and mobility with external partners, starting with the EU Neighbourhood. Based on cooperation between relevant Ministries, employment, education and training bodies and networks, the Partnerships will combine mobility schemes with capacity building or training in areas relevant for economic or social integration (e.g. labour market integration, skills building, reintegration support, vocational training). The Pact suggests ensuring funding for such activities from education (Erasmus+), research, home affairs and external relations, in line with the areas and sectors covered. In addition, as some of the talent attraction measures, the Pact envisages finalising the reform of the EU Blue Card Directive, ensuring full implementation of the 2016 Directive on Students and Researchers for internal mobility of international talent and potentially, developing an EU Talent Pool, which would operate as a recruitment platform for the highly skilled from third countries. The Commission has also launched a public consultation on legal migration and talent attraction. The deadline for contributions is 30 December 2020.
For more information, the new Pact on Migration and Asylum and accompanying documents are accessible here.