Border Control and Migration

Global economic developments and the emerging situation in North Africa and the Middle East have brought to the surface major challenges for the EU in the areas of freedom, security and justice. A comprehensive, coherent and long-term EU approach is needed to address these challenges, which call for stronger and better cooperation between the Member States, based on mutual trust and solidarity.

Europe’s demographic challenges call for a comprehensive EU migration policy, based on common admission procedures and fair third-country nationals’ treatment. The development of an EU legal framework on migration is a vital component of this comprehensive EU migration policy. Such policies can contribute to the future prosperity of both the EU and of the countries of origin of the migrants. The Presidency will, therefore, devote its efforts to reach an agreement on the proposals concerning the procedures regulating the entry, temporary stay and residence of Intra-Corporate Transferees as well as the entry and residence conditions for Seasonal Workers.

Successful integration is the key for maximizing the benefits of immigration, both for the receiving societies and for migrants themselves in terms of economic development and social cohesion. In light of this, the Presidency will work towards enhancing cooperation between Member States and other stakeholders, with the goal to make better use of the benefits of integration with the active involvement of local and regional governance. In this respect, one should see efforts as a joint responsibility of all levels of governance and recognize the leading role of local and regional authorities in shaping and implementing national integration policies. Integration takes place at the local and regional level with the active involvement of the civil society. Acknowledging the great potential of the local and regional governance in successful integration, the upcoming Cyprus Presidency has decided to highlight this principle and set the issue for discussion on the agenda of an Expert Conference which will be held on 20th November in Nicosia.

In addition, the Cyprus Presidency will continue to address challenges in relation to illegal immigration, in full respect of fundamental rights, freedoms and human dignity. To this end, the Presidency will follow closely the implementation of the EU Action on Migratory Pressures – a Strategic Response and will ensure, if needed, the necessary follow-ups. Furthermore, the Presidency will work towards the completion of readmission agreements with key countries of transit and origin.

The EU’s target is to continue to facilitate legal access to the territory of its Member States while at the same time address effectively illegal immigration and cross-border crime and maintain a high level of security. The Stockholm programme aims to reconcile making borders secure and facilitating flows. In order to accomplish these targets, the development of the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) designed to put in place a system using modern technologies and promoting interoperability and uniform border surveillance standards, is also of great importance.

In this respect, the Cyprus Presidency will work towards the modernisation of the EU’s border regime and the use of new technology to ensure that the system both encourages cross-border activities and provides the right safeguards, which are the key elements for a well-managed migration policy. Specifically, the Presidency will work towards the conclusion of the work on the legislative proposal for EUROSUR, will initiate discussions on the examination of the Smart Borders legislative package (Entry/Exit System and the Registered Travellers Programme), when this is submitted by the Commission.