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Monitoring and evaluation of Non-EU Member Countries in the fight against illegal immigration
The report sets out to provide the Council with the information necessary to evaluate the present level of each country's cooperation. It is a pilot report for the monitoring and evaluation mechanism and covers only eight countries: Albania, China, Libya, Morocco, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Tunisia and Ukraine.
Communication from the Commission to the Council on the monitoring and evaluation mechanism of Non-EU Member Countries in the field of the fight against illegal immigration [COM(2005) 352 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
This report is the first of its kind. It sets out a number of political recommendations as requested by the Council, as well as some technical recommendations to improve the existing mechanism.
It covers the principal developments in the period up to 20 December 2004. The Commission notes that the level of existing cooperation with the Commission varies significantly between countries.
The Commission considers that Albania has demonstrated positive cooperation with the Commission on migration issues. In addition, the entry into force of the readmission agreement at Community level is a positive development.
However, it takes the view that Albania needs:
- to press ahead with progress as regards controls at sea of illegal migration;
- to adopt in full the framework legislation relating to migration and asylum;
- to strengthen its administrative and financial capacity in this field.
Albania should be diplomatically supported in concluding readmission agreements not only with its regional neighbours but also with the countries of origin of migrants transiting through Albania.
In order to improve Albania's macroeconomic stability, the Commission proposes complementing existing Community efforts by addressing the issue of facilitating the transfer of remittances by migrant workers to their country of origin. In particular, it suggests further development of the Albanian financial sector and enhanced cooperation with international banking entities.
The Commission welcomes the dialogue with China after the tragedy in Dover in June 2000, when 58 illegal immigrants lost their lives. However, given the number of professionals and students who are being attracted to studying and working in the EU, it proposes that the dialogue be extended to issues relating to legal migration.
With a view to a continued commitment by China to reduce illegal migration from its country, the Commission proposes that:
- cooperation should be fostered between China and Member States' administrations through the Aeneas programme;
- negotiations should be opened on a readmission agreement between the European Community and China;
- discussions should be held on visa facilitation for certain categories of personnel.
Libya has been identified as a potential priority for intervention and support by the Commission. However, the EU has no formal relations with Libya.
The Commission recommends that Libya be encouraged to respond positively to the EU's policy. It will also explore ways of strengthening the dialogue on migration issues with African regional organisations in so far as a regional dimension is taken into account in achieving lasting solutions.
The Commission notes that Morocco displays a positive attitude in discussions with the EU. It stresses its fruitful cooperation with its neighbour Spain in efforts to stem the tide of illegal migration by sea. However, it points out that the Community has not been able to agree the text of a readmission agreement with Morocco. It thus suggests further efforts to reach a final agreement. It also proposes encouraging further dialogue between Morocco and its regional neighbours in order to seek regional strategies for managing migratory flows.
The Commission welcomes progress in the ongoing readmission and visa facilitation negotiations with Russia. It proposes that the EU encourage:
- finalisation of Russia's border demarcation agreements with the Baltic countries;
- Russia to respond positively to the challenge of balancing security concerns with freedom and justice in order to secure the necessary conditions for the effective integration of legal migrants.
Serbia and Montenegro
The Commission notes that progress has been made in the fields of migration and asylum and that the authorities take a positive attitude to working with the European Community.
However, it takes the view that:
- Serbia and Montenegro should be urged to improve cooperation between the State Union and the two Republics in order to implement the European partnership effectively;
- the Council might wish to promote dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina in order to tackle returns to Kosovo more effectively.
The Commission notes that Tunisia has shown a long-standing constructive approach to dialogue with the European Community in matters of migration management. However, two issues deserve attention: the lack of a functioning asylum system and the scale of illegal migration.
On the first issue, the Commission suggests that the issue of asylum and visa facilitation (Tunisia has expressed a particular interest in initiating dialogue on the latter) be examined in order to see whether more can be achieved.
On the second issue, it proposes supporting Tunisia's efforts to seek regional strategies for migration management. The solutions to be envisaged could encourage:
- regional cooperation on border control;
- the dialogue between Tunisia as a transit country and the countries of origin;
- the Tunisian Government to keep links between the diaspora and home communities;
- reintegration of those who return.
The Commission notes that Ukraine has made notable progress in some sectors of asylum and migration, border management and trafficking in persons. However, much remains to be done.
It underscores the fact that early conclusion of a readmission agreement remains of the utmost importance and that the comprehensive dialogue with the EU on all migration-related issues should be continued.
The Commission suggests:
- including Algeria, Hong Kong, Macau, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the report as well as more of the European Neighbourhood Policy partner countries;
- drawing up a report dealing with no more than ten countries, although it recommends that the frequency of reporting on individual countries be once every two years;
- improving data collection capacity and putting in place adequate methods for comparing and exchanging this information;
- clarifying the relationship between the reporting exercise and other reports (such as the regular reviews under the European Neighbourhood Policy) in order to avoid any duplication.
In June 2003 the European Council recognised the importance of developing an evaluation mechanism to monitor relations with Non-EU Member Countries in the field of migration. This report is an initial response to the invitation addressed to the Commission.