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Mutual information mechanism for national asylum and immigration measures

This decision establishes a mechanism for the mutual exchange of information concerning national measures in the areas of asylum and immigration. The mechanism consists of a web-based network run by the Commission via which European Union (EU) countries exchange information. The aim is to encourage subsequent exchanges of views on these measures to achieve greater coordination between EU countries.

ACT

Council Decision 2006/688/EC of 5 October 2006 on the establishment of a mutual information mechanism concerning Member States' measures in the areas of asylum and immigration.

SUMMARY

The mutual information mechanism (MIM) provides for exchanges of information between the Commission and European Union (EU) countries concerning national laws on asylum and immigration.

EU countries are required to transmit through a web-based network, and using the report form annexed to the decision, the measures they intend to take or have recently taken. Such information should be transmitted as soon as possible and at the latest when it becomes publicly available.

EU countries are required to communicate to the Commission and the other EU countries only measures that are likely to have a significant impact:

  • in other EU countries;
  • at the level of the EU as a whole.

The Commission is responsible for the development and management of the network. In setting up the network, it will make use of the existing technical platform of the trans-European telematic network for the exchange of information between EU country authorities (CIRCA). The network has a specific functionality that allows the Commission and EU countries to request from one or more countries additional information on measures communicated.

Any specific national measure notified in this way may give rise to an exchange of views between EU country experts and the Commission. In addition to these technical discussions, the Commission will prepare each year a report summarising the most relevant information transmitted by EU countries. The report will be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council for use as the basis of ministerial discussions on national asylum and immigration policies.

The Commission will evaluate the functioning of the mechanism two years after the entry into force of the decision and regularly thereafter.

Background

National measures in the areas of immigration and asylum are likely to have an impact on other EU countries. This is due to the absence of border checks in the Schengen area, the close economic and social relations between EU countries and the development of common visa, immigration and asylum policies.

The EU has been striving to draw up a common asylum and immigration policy since the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999. Although a large number of common measures have already been taken in these areas at the EU level, the national authorities continue to play an important role, notably in the areas not yet covered by EU rules. They are constantly adopting new measures (e.g. important changes to asylum and immigration policies, setting quotas, large-scale regularisation measures or concluding readmission agreements) that may have implications for other EU countries or for the EU as a whole.

Therefore, this decision proposes the establishment of a formal information procedure between EU countries and the Commission, with the aim of improving the coordination of immigration and asylum policies between EU countries.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 2006/688/EC

3.11.2006

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OJ L 283 of 14.10.2006

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission of 17 December 2009 pursuant to Article 4 and 5 of the Council Decision of 5 October 2006 on the establishment of a mutual information mechanism concerning Member States’ measures in the areas of asylum and immigration [COM(2009) 687 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report contains a summary of the most relevant information transmitted by EU countries and an evaluation on the functioning of the MIM during its first operational period.
From the beginning of the MIM becoming operational in April 2007 until 30 September 2009, only 16 EU countries had transmitted information via the MIM on only 45 measures:

  • 21 on adopted legislation;
  • 4 on draft legislation;
  • 9 on policy intentions and long-term programming;
  • 7 on administrative decisions affecting a large group of non-EU country nationals or having a general nature;
  • 4 on other measures.

No communications were made on final decisions of the highest courts or tribunals.
The format in which the communications were made was rarely homogenous. The reporting form annexed to the decision was not always used, which resulted in the ineffective reception of information in that the essence of the measures or their impact remained unidentifiable. In addition to this, at times only the English title and the text in the original language were provided, resulting in problems of comprehension. There were also differences in the contents of the reporting forms submitted: some were fairly comprehensive, while others only provided a cursory description without indication of the nature of the measure.
The MIM cannot be deemed as fulfilling its objectives since the quantity of information submitted was nominal. The rate of information exchanges varied somewhat, reaching an all-time low in 2009 with only 4 communications.
Yet, there is no evidence that the unsatisfactory application of the decision is caused by its provisions. In addition, since the MIM has only been operational for a short period, the Commission does not yet consider it relevant to propose amendments to the decision.

Last updated: 12.08.2010
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