State of the Union: Migration

The biggest part of Juncker’s speech was dedicated to the refugee crisis. Other topics briefly discussed were Greece, Jobs and Growth, Social Policy, EMU, TTIP, Ukraine, security at our borders, and Climate Change. His key points of his speech with regards to migration policy include: 

  • A second relocation proposal for 120.000 refugees from Greece, Hungary and Italy, bringing the total of proposed relocations to 160.000.
  • A permanent relocation mechanism to cope with refugees on a structural basis, for ‘permanent solidarity’.
  • A common European list of safe countries of origin to include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey; Juncker added that if these countries would want to be taken off the list, this would mean they do not meet the Copenhagen Criteria.
  • Open legal channels for migration. The Commission will propose a legislative package in early 2016.
  • An emergency trust fund of 1.8 billion euros to address the root causes of the refugee crisis, whereby all Member States are expected to pitch in.
  • Change national legislation to allow asylum seekers to work and earn money while they are following asylum procedures.
  • A proposal for a European border- and coastguard will be made before the end of this year.
  • On Schengen, Juncker stated that ‘the Schengen system will not be abolished under the mandate of this Commission.’

The full text of Juncker’s speech is published here. A Storify of the speech and debate by the Parliament can be found here. The legislative proposals presented by the Commission in line with the State of the Union can be found here (Factsheets and Q&A’s can be found at the end of the press release).

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