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Brussels, 21 December 2005

Economic migration in the EU – Commission presents a roadmap on Legal Migration

The European Commission adopted today a “Policy Plan on Legal Migration”, jointly presented by Vice-President Franco Frattini, Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, and Commissioner Vladimir Špidla, responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. This plan has been developed in order to comply with a request in the Hague Programme, the EU multi-annual work programme in the field of Justice, Freedom and Security. The Hague programme explicitly asked the Commission to present, before the end of 2005, “a policy plan on legal migration, including admission procedures capable of responding promptly to fluctuating demands for migrant labour in the labour market”.

Vice-President Franco Frattini said: “I attach particular importance to this Policy Plan as it is the result of a long bottom-up, rather than top-down, process. We listened to all relevant stakeholders in the field, notably trade unions, employer’s organisations, governments, European Parliament, NGOs and the European Economic and Social Committee, and we listened well. Their input enabled us as Commission to present our views on how to respond to the economic and demographic challenges ahead of us – and to the immigration pressures at our borders – by means of a comprehensive set of measures that should allow for a better management of the immigration phenomenon from all its different angles. I am strongly convinced that legal migration and integration are inseparable and should mutually reinforce each other”.

Commissioner Vladimir Spidla added: “Immigration has always been both: an asset and a challenge. In order for Europe to truly benefit from immigration we have to manage legal migration in a coherent, predictable and efficient way. Immigration must benefit the European economy, the countries of origin and the individual migrants themselves. In this respect, sustained efforts to integrate the immigrants into the labour market and into broader society are equally important as clear but flexible rules for entry, stay or re-entry."

The Policy Plan is mainly focused on economic migration and aims at giving a clear and complete overview of whole range of initiatives – legislative and non – that the Commission intends to take in the next years in this field, according to an indicative roadmap covering the period 2006-2009, i.e. the remaining period of The Hague Programme. It addresses four areas for action of equal relevance and importance for the coherent development of the EU common legal migration policy: a legislative section to regulate the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in employment; actions and policies to foster knowledge building and sharing of information in the immigration field; policies and founding aimed at supporting and improving the integration of economic migrants and their dependents on the labour market and in the host society; and measures aimed at a more efficient management of international immigration flows which need the cooperation and the support of the Countries of origin of the immigrants. While 2006 will be mostly devoted to carrying out studies on specific issues and discussions on the way forward, this preparatory phase will be followed by several concrete initiatives starting from 2007.

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