Press releases

Beyond Stockholm: overcoming the inconsistencies of immigration policy


15 December 2009

This Working Paper by EPC Policy Analyst Elizabeth Collett asks the critical question: where next for immigration policy development? For the answers it draws deeply on the reflections and discussions developed in a series of workshops hosted by the European Policy Centre between January and July 2009.

It assesses the progress achieved to date on EU immigration and asylum policy, particularly in the last five years, considers the short- and medium-term potential for immigration policy development at the European level, and looks at how such policies might be developed beyond the boundaries of the Stockholm Programme itself.

It argues that JLS policy-makers should focus on a few key and thorny issues within their
core competence:

  • completing ongoing external border control projects and reconciling these with an equitable and responsible common European asylum policy;
  • tackling undocumented migration on a broader basis, through the development of common criteria for national regularisation processes; and
  • developing a strong and transparent basis for the rights of all third-country nationals in Europe.

Beyond this, immigration policy should be ‘outsourced’ to the most appropriate actors. Two key dimensions can be highlighted. First, the Global Approach to Migration should be put in the hands of external relations actors, who can link it to the broader agendas of trade and development. Second, both legal immigration policies and the integration of migrants should be incorporated into the existing work of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs, to ensure that migration becomes an element of labour market, competitiveness and social inclusion policies. 

Immigration has been incubating within the JLS portfolio for a decade. As it emerges as a critical policy challenge for Europe, the time has come to develop a more multi-faceted approach, identifying those elements of immigration policy that can be developed more fruitfully elsewhere, to enable the EU go ‘beyond Stockholm’ and overcome the current inconsistencies in this area, says the author.

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