Communication problems between EU Member States concerning immigration and asylum

The European Commission has recently published a Communication summarising the most relevant information in the field of migration and asylum which shall be transmitted by the Member States on the basis of the European Council Decision of 2006.

This Decision was adopted following the self-evident remark that national measures in the areas of immigration and asylum are likely to have an impact on other Member States given the absence of border checks in the Schengen area, the close economic and social relations between Member States and the development of common visa, immigration and asylum policies.

Hence, the systematic exchange of information seemed an obvious necessity in order to increase the Member States’ reciprocal understanding of these policies and improve their coordination, influence the quality of the EU legislation and increase mutual trust.

This was in theory. In practice the European Commission presents an unsatisfactory experience in terms of quantity, frequency and quality of the exchanged information. This is mainly because the negative impact of the absence of any kind of communication by no less than eleven Member States out of twenty seven has been greatly underestimated (BE, BU, CY, DK, EE, FI, FR, IE, LV, LT, LU).

The Executive body asserts that:

“A particular concern may be expressed with regard to the communication of measures before their adoption. Only 4 pieces of draft legislation and 9 measures concerning policy intentions or long-term programming have been provided. The poor level of activity at this stage of a decision-making process surely does not contribute to an exchange of views helping to form a more coordinated approach of national policies.”

Despite this evidence

 “the Commission does not also consider it relevant to propose amendments to the Decision, according to its Article 5”

 given the relatively short period of functioning of this information exchange mechanism.

 However, in future, the Commission considers it desirable to streamline the functioning of the MIM into the more general framework of the impact assessment of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum foreseen by 2010 to cover also the commitments relating to the Stockholm Programme and its accompanying Action Plan.  

 This sympathy towards Member States’ bureaucracies might have been  perfectly justified if migration norms, concerning both legal and illegal waves, were not negotiated on a basis of a visibly incomplete framework.

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