The European Union is suffering from uncontrolled immigration from Africa and the Middle East. The Member States have difficulties in dealing with the huge amount of asylum seekers. Burden sharing has created deep controversies between them. When the external borders of the union are leaking, the Schengen agreement is at great risk. The flow of illegal immigration seems to be growing.
The EU needs a comprehensive migration policy. We have to carry our humanitarian responsibility and provide asylum according to the international agreements. We need immigration of young people in order to work here and strengthen our aging societies. We have to make clear difference between these two forms of immigration and stop the illegal movement of people over our external borders.
We have to tackle effectively the root causes of migration by improving the living conditions in the countries where people are leaving from, in order to find a better life in Europe. We have to give them hope for future in their own countries.
Our most important task is to work for peaceful settlement of the armed conflicts in Africa and in the Middle East. We have to act in close cooperation with the United States which has created instability in our neighbourhood by its extensive use of military power. Together we can help solving the crises in a comprehensive way. The UN Security Council and its permanent members are in a key position in these efforts.
We have to concentrate our development cooperation on the countries and regions where people are in despair and leaving their homes. Also here we have to work together with the United States. Since 2009 the EU and the US have developed intensified development cooperation for poverty reduction and promotion of sustainable development. We should invite the Americans to prioritize together with us the most troubled countries and regions in Africa and in the Middle East. The relevant UN funds and specialized agencies should be our key partners in this work.
Millions of people are living in miserable conditions in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and elsewhere. A large share of the people trying to migrate to Europe comes from these camps. They already have international protection, shelter and care, but they are looking for a better life.
We have to substantially increase our support to the maintenance of these camps. Children and youngsters must have proper education. We have to be ready to receive refugees from these camps in the framework of our national UNHCR quotas. All MSs should open such quota. We should also recruit labour from these camps and assist the countries in the region to permanently settle people from these camps.
This all should happen in close cooperation with the United States which should carry a fair share of the burden of receiving refugees and labour from these camps. UNHCR is our key partner in dealing with the refugee camps.
New Refugee Camps
We have to close in cooperation with the neighbouring countries our borders from illegal migration. The ships and boats heading for Europe should be stopped and the people on them should be returned back.
In Northern Africa and in the Balkans, outside our external borders, we have to establish new refugee camps in close cooperation with our neighbourhood policy partners and the UNHCR. In some cases camps could be established also in the Member States. We have to be ready to carry the costs of these camps.
In these camps the UNHCR experts would study individually the right for asylum. Those who are accepted as refugees could and should be received by the Member States in side their national quotas. Others could be offered ”green cards” to work in the Member States.
Also in establishing new refugee camps we should act in close cooperation with the US and UNHCR.
Common Asylum Policy
I would like to maintain the present EU rules of asylum policy intact. We have experienced exceptional crisis which should not lead into permanent changes in our policies. Voluntary harmonisation of the practices in the member States can of course be accepted.