EU: New proposals on migration: "partnerships" with third countries, Blue Card reform, integration plan

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The European Commission has published a series of new "migration management" proposals that foresee new "partnerships" set up with non-EU states; the reform of the 'Blue Card Directive' on the entry into the EU of highly-skilled workers; and an action plan on "the integration of third-country nationals and their economic and social contribution to the EU."

Cooperation with non-EU states: new "Partnership Framework"

From the press release (pdf):

"The European Commission has today set out plans for a new results-oriented Partnership Framework tomobilise and focus EU action and resources in our external work on managing migration. The EU will seek tailor made partnerships with key third countries of origin and transit using all policies and instruments at the EU's disposal to achieve concrete results. Building on the European Agenda on Migration, the priorities are saving lives at sea, increasing returns, enabling migrants and refugees to stay closer to home and, in the long term, helping third countries' development in order to address root causes of irregular migration. Member State contributions in these partnerships – diplomatic, technical and financial – will be of fundamental importance in delivering results."

European Commission documents (pdfs)

  • Communication on establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration (COM(2016) 385 final)
    - Annex 1
    - Annex 2
    - Annex 3
    - Annex 4
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Information sheet

    See recent press coverage concerning these proposals: EU considering working with Sudan and Eritrea to stem migration (The Guardian, link):

    "Europe is considering whether to forge ahead with a plan to work with repressive African regimes in an attempt to stem migration flows, according to the draft version of a policy expected to be finalised by European officials on Tuesday.

    To stop refugees reaching southern Europe from Africa, Europe is mulling whether to partner with Sudan, whose president is wanted for war crimes, and Eritrea, whose government is accused of crimes against humanity by the UN."

    The main proposal highlighted in the Guardian article - "the 'Better Migration Management' project" which "will start this summer under the Khartoum Process" - remains in the final version of the Commission's communication.

    Integration action plan and 'Blue Card' Directive

    The "action plan" on integration and the proposed reform of the 'Blue Card' Directive share a press release (pdf). On integration, it says:

    "Today's Action Plan provides a common policy framework and supporting measures which should help Member States as they further develop and strengthen their national integration policies for thirdcountry nationals. Member States – at national, regional and local level – are at the forefront when it comes to integration. The Action Plan sets out the concrete policy, operational and financial support to be delivered at EU level to support them in their efforts."

    On the 'Blue Card' Directive, the press release says:

    "The EU Blue Card scheme, adopted in 2009, has proven insufficient and unattractive so far and is therefore underused. Restrictive admission conditions and the existence of parallel rules, conditions and procedures at national level have limited the use of the EU scheme. Only 31% of highly-educated migrants to OECD countries chose the EU as a destination, meaning skilled workers are choosing other destinations which compete economically with the EU.

    Today's proposal revamps the existing rules and aims to improve the EU’s ability to attract and retain highly skilled third-country nationals, since demographic patterns suggest that even with the more skilled EU workforce the New Skills Agenda aims to develop, there will still be a need to attract additional talent in the future."

    European Commission documentation (pdfs)

  • Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals (COM (2016) 377 final)
  • Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals: information sheet
  • Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment (COM(2016) 378 final)
  • Revision of the EU Blue Card Directive: information sheet
  • Questions and Answers: An improved EU Blue Card scheme and the Action Plan on Integration

    See also: European Commission, An economic take on the refugee crisis (pdf):

    "Europe is facing an unprecedented surge in the number of asylum seekers and refugees. These flows have put considerable strain on public authorities in several Member States. From a purely macroeconomic point of view, the impact appears moderate, stemming in the short term from increased public spending and, over time, a slight rise in labour supply. This report focuses on asylum seekers and refugees, presenting a first assessment of the impacts of the unexpected inflows of these individuals on the economies of the EU. It only presents a first snap-shot, reflecting the fact that much will depend on the size, scope and composition of the flows, as well as the capacity of host countries to integrate those that will be granted protection and the actual number of individuals who remain in host countries whether or not they are granted protection."

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