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Brussels, 19 July 2006

Package of measures to reinforce solidarity between Member States and the fight against illegal immigration

The package adopted today comprises of a Communication on the policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration of third-country nationals, a proposal for a Regulation establishing a Community Code on visas for short-stays and a proposal for a Regulation on the powers and the financing of rapid reaction teams of border guards from Member States who are seconded to another Member State in order to provide technical and operational assistance. This package significantly reinforces the EU's efforts to increase solidarity between Member States and fight illegal immigration more vigorously.

Vice President Frattini, Commissioner responsible for Freedom, Security and Justice, underlined the need for an effective and coherent common visa policy at EU level, for clear and well-defined measures designed to combat the growing phenomenon of illegal immigration and of giving more substance to the concept of solidarity in the area of immigration and asylum in particular in the field of border management.

The Vice-President stated “We need a reinforced and more efficient fight against illegal immigration, fundamental for the credibility and coherence of our immigration and asylum policies. This Communication is fully in line with the Rabat Action Plan on Immigration and Development that countries of origin, transit and destination agreed upon only last week. In particular by being tough on illegal immigration we prevent immigrants from being exploited and we remove the key pull factor for illegal immigration.”

Policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration

The Communication on Policy Priorities to Fight Against the Illegal Immigration in particular explores how to further secure external borders, for instance by introducing intelligence led ‘e-borders management’ as well as the creation of an automated entry-exit system, it addresses the issue of regularisation and the need to tackle employment of illegally residing third-country nationals.

Community Code on short-stay visa

This proposal will reinforce the security of the European Union and further facilitate legitimate travel into the European Union as it reinforces the coherence of the common visa policy on the processing and issuance of short-term, transit and airport transit visas. By strengthening legal security and transparency of the visa rules concerned both consular staff of the Member States and visa applicants will greatly benefit.

Rapid reaction teams of border guards

The proposal, which deals with the establishment of Rapid Border Intervention Teams, their tasks and financing, represents a major step forward in the development of an integrated border management system at European level and constitutes an important measure for the furthering of solidarity between Member States and the Community in the field of external borders.

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