Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries in the areas of migration and asylum
The purpose of the thematic programme is to support projects in Non-EU Member Countries that aim to improve the management of migratory flows. The programme continues the AENEAS activities within the framework of the Financial Perspectives 2007-2013.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - Thematic programme for the cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries in the areas of migration and asylum [COM(2006) 26 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
The general aim of the thematic programme is to provide support for Non-EU Member Countries so that they can better manage migratory flows.
The programme is designed to cover the main areas corresponding to the key dimensions of the migratory phenomenon, in particular:
- the links between migration and development;
- economic migration;
- preventing and fighting illegal immigration;
- voluntary return and reintegration of migrants;
- international protection.
All the Non-EU Member Countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument and the Development Cooperation and Economic Cooperation Instrument are eligible for the thematic programme. However, the Commission is proposing that the regions of emigration and transit towards the European Union (EU) should be considered as a priority.
The Commission adds that respect for democratic principles and the rule of law and for human and minority rights constitutes an essential element to be taken into account.
The programme is designed to back up the measures taken under the geographical instruments. Accordingly, it:
- proposes new initiatives on the basis of pilot projects;
- finances global or multiregional initiatives.
The future thematic programme has five strands.
Fostering the links between migration and development
The thematic programme involves the implementation of measures:
- to encourage the contribution of diasporas to the socio-economic development of their country of origin;
- to mitigate brain drain;
- to facilitate remittances by migrant workers;
- to support voluntary return and professional reintegration;
- to build capacities for better managing migration.
Promoting well-managed economic migration
The Commission would like to see the thematic programme helping in Non-EU Member Countries:
- to disseminate information about the conditions of entry into and stay on the territory of the Union and legal recruitment there;
- to disseminate information about labour migration opportunities and needs in Member States;
- to encourage the definition of legislative frameworks for migrant workers in Non-EU Member Countries.
Fighting illegal migration and facilitating the readmission of illegal immigrants
It is planned:
- to step up the fight against smuggling of and trafficking in human beings;
- to facilitate the communication of information aimed at discouraging illegal immigration;
- to improve the prevention and fight against illegal immigration;
- to facilitate the implementation of readmission agreements concluded with the Community;
- to step up assistance for Non-EU Member Countries in the management of illegal immigration.
Protecting migrants against exploitation and exclusion
Steps will be taken in Non-EU Member Countries in the following areas:
- development of legislation in the field of legal immigration;
- integration and non-discrimination policies as well as measures to protect migrants from racism and xenophobia;
- prevention of and fight against trafficking in human beings and support for victims of such practices.
Promoting asylum and international protection of refugees
The thematic programme should help to provide durable solutions to refugee problems by:
- strengthening Non-EU Member Countries' legal framework for providing asylum and international protection;
- supporting the registration of asylum applicants and refugees;
- promoting respect for international standards;
- supporting improvements in reception conditions, local integration, the durable reintegration of returnees and resettlement programmes.
Programming and implementation principles
The thematic programme will be subject to multiannual programming by the Commission in the form of a thematic strategy paper and a multiannual indicative programme. Two papers and two indicative programmes will be drawn up, in each case one for the period 2007-2010 and one for the period 2011-2013.
On the basis of the paper and the indicative programme, the Commission will produce each year an annual work programme setting the priority actions of the Union and specifying:
- geographical and thematic areas;
- specific objectives;
- anticipated results;
- indicative amounts.
The Commission intends to involve Non-EU Member Countries in the actions financed from the thematic programme. To this end, Non-EU Member Countries will be informed of the calls for proposals and actions implemented.
An external evaluation for the period 2007-2009 will provide input for the strategy paper for the period 2011-2013.
The programme stems from the preparatory measures taken between 2001 and 2003. These measures, financed from the budget heading B7-667, were designed to assist Non-EU Member Countries in their efforts at better managing migratory flows.
The AENEAS programme was intended to be the successor to the preparatory measures. This instrument, adopted in 2004, has a budget of 250 million for the period 2004-2008. With a view to concluding the current EU financial framework at the end of 2006, the duration of the AENEAS programme has been shortened to three years.
The thematic programme continues with the activities of the AENEAS programme within the framework of the Financial Perspectives 2007-2013. It follows on from the Hague programme, which stipulates that EU policy must promote cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries in the migration field "in full partnership, using existing Community funds were appropriate".