Conclusions of EU Summit on 16-17 October 2003 (1)


The Conclusions of the EU Summit of Prime Ministers on 16-17 October in Brussels cover management of common borders, controlling migratory flows and judicial and police cooperation.

Of note in the further development of "Fortress Europe" is the formal announcement that a "Border Management Agency" is to be set up to "enhance operational cooperation for the management of external borders" - this Agency will head the national Border Management Centres and the Air Border Centre plus two Maritime Border Centres.

The Conclusions also note "with satisfaction" the work being undertaken in the EU and international fora on "the introduction of biometric identifiers in visas, residence permits and passports". They call for agreement by the end of the year on the development of the Visa Information System and the Schengen Information System (SIS II) - this is a reference to the intention to include biometric and personal data gathered at national level for visas and residence permits (and in the future EU passports) on SIS II, see: Biometrics - EU takes another step down the road to 1984: Statewatch report

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Text of the Presidency Conclusions - 16/17 October 2003:

"STRENGTHENING FREEDOM, SECURITY AND JUSTICE

Managing the Union's common borders

25. The European Council stresses that with the forthcoming enlargement, the Union's borders are expanding, and recalls the common interest of all Member States in establishing a more effective management of borders, in particular with a view to enhancing the security of their citizens.

26. Recalling the conclusions of its Thessaloniki meeting, the European Council welcomes the Commission's intention to pursue rapidly the examination of the allocation of 140 million euros envisaged for the period 2004-2006, in order to cover the most pressing needs in this area, especially in supporting the management of external borders, the implementation of the return action programme and the development of the Visa Information System (VIS).

27. The European Council underlines the importance of full implementation of the Plan for the management of external borders and the setting up of the pending air border centre and two maritime border centres. All Border Management Centres should work closely together under the coordination of the Common Unit of External Borders Practitioners.

28. The European Council welcomes the Commission's intention to submit a proposal for the creation of a Border Management Agency, in order to enhance operational cooperation for the management of external borders, in time for the Council to reach a political agreement on the main elements by the end of the year. This proposal will draw on the experience of the Common Unit of External Border Practitioners.

29. The European Council takes note of the study carried out for the Commission on maritime borders and invites the JHA Council to draw up a work programme on this issue to be adopted by the end of the year.

Controlling migratory flows

30. The European Council confirms the top political priority ascribed to the issue of migration and reaffirms its commitment to a balanced approach between, on the one hand, the urgent need to stop illegal migration and to fight against the trafficking of human beings, and, on the other hand, the reception and integration of legal immigrants, in accordance with the principles and priorities set out in the European Councils in Thessaloniki, Seville, Laeken and Tampere.

31. It commits itself to the use of all appropriate instruments of the EU's external relations, within the global approach as defined in Thessaloniki, including strengthened partnerships with the third countries concerned, in pursuit of the EU's strategy to combat illegal migration. In this context the European Council:

· invites the Commission, t

 

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