EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response



Document date 23-04-2012
Publication date 22-01-2013
Reference 8714/1/12 REV 1
From Presidency
To Council/Mixed Committee
External link original PDF
Original document in PDF



COUNCIL OF Brussels, 23 April 2012 PUBLIC


8714/1/12 REV 1




from: Presidency

to: Council/Mixed Committee

Subject: EU Action on Migratory Pressures

  • A Strategic Response


The political commitment of Member States in the fight against illegal immigration has been

reflected in previous European Council and Council Conclusions in 2011 and earlier. On the basis

of a report on the EU response to increased migration pressures prepared by the Polish Presidency

(doc. 18302/11) following discussions in the JHA Council in September and October 2011, the JHA

Council on 13-14 December 2011 concluded that the report would form the basis for a paper on

action in this area and invited the incoming Danish Presidency to develop such a paper.

8714/1/12 REV 1 BM/cr 1 EN

Following proceedings in SCIFA on 13 February, at the Working Party on Integration, Migration

and Expulsion on 12 March, at the High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration on

20-21 March, and at the informal SCIFA on 28-29 March 2012, the matter was discussed in SCIFA

on 16 April 2012 on the basis of doc. 8688/12. Coreper at its meeting on 18 April 2012 examined

the revised text set out in doc. 8714/12. The paper was received favourably by delegations, and the

Presidency has, in light of comments made, prepared the text set out in the Annex, with a view to its

approval by the April 2012 JHA Council.


The EU Action on Migratory Pressures as set out in the Annex includes a non-exhaustive list of

strategic priority areas where efforts need to be stepped up and monitored in order to prevent and

control existing pressures that derive from illegal immigration as well as abuse of legal migration

routes. The order of appearance does not reflect a priority, which the circular figure at the front

page also indicates. It addresses issues such as initiatives to strengthen the prevention, control and

combat of illegal immigration at the Greek-Turkish border, prevention of illegal immigration from

and via the Western Balkans and intensified efforts to combat abuse of free movement rights by

third country nationals.

The EU Action on Migratory Pressures is intended to respond to current challenges to the EU in a

tangible and realistic way. It is important that it becomes a "living document" which is updated on a

regular basis in order to be capable of responding to migratory pressures, which can change rapidly.

The Presidency proposes that after approval by the Council of the EU Action on Migratory

Pressures, the following arrangements are put in place to ensure the necessary follow-up:

− Future Presidencies will be responsible for updating the list of actions set out in the Annex on

a biannual basis, taking into account developments in relation to migratory pressures, the

progress achieved in the implementation of the actions and any relevant recommendations in

the annual report of the Commission on asylum and immigration;


− SCIFA/Mixed Committee will oversee the implementation and update of the list of actions;

− Member States are encouraged to volunteer to monitor various challenges, where appropriate,

so as to ensure that one party has an overview of the development in the described activities.

The aim is to ensure that the various policies and measures are put into effect and to help

future Presidencies in their follow up.


The Council is invited to approve the EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response set

out in the Annex, and the proposed approach on its follow-up set out above.



EU Action on Migratory Pressures – a Strategic Response

Strengthening cooperation with third countries of transit and origin

Enhancing on migration Enhanced border

migration management management at

management the external

including return borders


Safeguarding Preventing

free movement Action illegal

by preventing immigration via

abuse by third the Greekcountry

nationals Turkish border Better tackling of

abuse of legal




List of contents

I . Strategic priority area: Strengthening cooperation with third countries of transit and origin on migration management

1. Preventing and combating 2. Implementation of 3. Capacity building of 4. The Southern 5. The Eastern partners 6. The Western Balkans 7. The Western illegal migration by orderly EU readmission countries of origin and Mediterranean Mediterranean and the return of illegal migrants agreements transit Western Atlantic coast p. 6 p. 7 p. 7 p. 8 p. 9 p. 10 p. 11

II. Strategic priority area: Enhanced border management at the external borders

1. Strengthening political 2. Strong and efficient guidance and legal framework external border controls

p. 12 p. 13

III. Strategic priority area: Preventing illegal immigration via the Greek-Turkish Border

1. The Greek-Turkish border 2. Combating illegal immigration transiting Turkey to EU

p. 15 p. 15

IV. Strategic priority area: Better tackling of abuse of legal migration channels

1 . Unfounded asylum 2. Illegal immigration caused applications upon visa by visa liberalisation

liberalisation and over stayers

p. 17 p. 17

V. Strategic priority area: Safeguarding and protecting free movement by prevention of abuse by third country nationals

1. Abuse of free movement 2. Fraudulent acquisition and rights and organised migration abuse of free movement rights related crime p. 19 p. 20

VI. Strategic priority area: Enhancing migration management, including cooperation on return practices

1. Migration management 2. Common EU approach in systems and fluctuating the field of return migration pressures p. 21 p. 21


EU Action on Migratory Pressure – a Strategic Response

Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

I. Strategic priority area: Strengthening cooperation with third countries of transit and origin on migration management

1. Preventing and EU readmission A: Operationalising Council Conclusions of June PRES, COM, WP on combating illegal agreements as tools of 2011 defining an EU strategy on readmission (doc. Migration (expulsion)/ migration by an effective return 11260/11 MIGR 118). HLWG/SCIFA, EEAS ensuring smooth policy in order to tackle

and orderly return illegal immigration. i. Launching a substantive discussion based on PRES, COM

of illegal migrants PRES questionnaire to identify new third i) PRES between States, Initiation and continuing countries, with which concluding an EU synthesis in including respect of negotiations on EU readmission agreement would be of EU interest, June 2012.

for the obligation of readmission agreements in particular with countries of origin of illegal each State under with relevant third migration. customary countries, including

international law to further appropriate steps ii. Preparation of a comprehensive overview of EU

readmit its own when negotiations stall. and Member States relations and agreements PRES, COM ii) PRES nationals. with third countries eligible for negotiation of synthesis in

EU readmission agreements. June 2012.

  • iii. 
    Discussion and consideration of the use and the

    content of proportional, tailor-made incentives PRES, COM iii) Starting offered to those identified third countries with June/July 2012.

    which EU readmission agreements are to be negotiated, in combination with the principle of conditionality applied in an appropriate manner.

  • iv. 
    Clarification of Council’s criteria regarding rules

    on accelerated procedures, transit operations, and obligations to readmit third country nationals and

    stateless persons, in order to assess how these PRES, COM

    • iv) 
      Starting June/July 2012.

    issues should be taken into account on a case by case basis in EU readmission agreements with identified countries.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

2. Ensure Full implementation of A: Further efforts by COM and MS in relation to COM, MS Continuous. implementation of EU readmission relevant third countries aimed at full implementation all EU readmission agreements by third of EU readmission agreements that are not being fully agreements to their countries and Member implemented. full effect. States alike facilitated

by practical B: Full and effective use of Joint Readmission COM, MS Continuous. arrangements. Committees, including, where applicable, active

participation of Member States.

Ensuring effective C: Coherent implementation by Member States of EU MS Continuous. implementation of readmission agreements. Due attention should also be Article 13 of the given to the implementation of bilateral readmission Cotonou agreement. agreements or arrangements concluded by Member

States when compatible with the EU readmission agreements.

D: Exercise pressure through diplomatic channels and EEAS, COM, MS Continuous. other regular contacts with relevant third countries.

E: Further efforts by COM and MS to ensure that COM, MS Continuous. partner countries fully implement Article 13 of the Cotonou agreement, including through targeted dialogues with priority countries.

3. Enhancing the To equip the countries A: Strengthening the use of Regional Protection COM, MS Continuous. capacity of of first asylum with the Programmes and similar national initiatives aiming at countries of origin necessary means to be long term capacity building in the field of and transit to able to guarantee international protection in order to provide protection manage mixed refugees protection that to persons in need thereof as soon as possible after migration flows. meets international the initial displacement and as closely as possible to

standards. their home areas. Thus, enabling asylum seekers to apply for and find effective protection in the region of

To assist third countries origin. to better manage mixed B: Building capacity in third countries in order for COM, MS Continuous. migratory flows. them to better tackle the challenges of mixed

migratory flows.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

To avoid secondary C: Improving availability and access in third COM, MS Ongoing. movements. countries of first asylum to means for self-reliance to avert secondary movements. To establish Mobility Partnerships with relevant third countries. D: Contributing to enhance local employment COM, MS Ongoing. opportunities in countries of origin.

4. Prevention of To extend dialogues on A: Implementing the European Council Conclusions COM, MS First semester illegal migration migration, mobility and on 23-24 June 2011 and of 2-3 March 2012 2012. from the Southern security with the emphasising the need to establish and to expand a HLWG Mediterranean Southern Mediterranean structured dialogue on migration, mobility and countries. countries with a view to security with the southern Mediterranean countries.

establishing Mobility The cooperation should be founded on a performance Partnerships. based approach and on appropriate conditions.

B: Conclude Mobility Partnerships with Morocco and COM, MS First semester Tunisia. 2012.

C: To consider launching Dialogues on migration, COM, MS, HLWG 2012 mobility and security leading towards Mobility Partnerships with Jordan and subsequently, once possible with other Southern Mediterranean countries (with priority given to Egypt and Libya).

D: FRONTEX should strengthen its operational FRONTEX 2012 and cooperation with the competent border control onwards. authorities of the Southern Mediterranean countries.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

E: As soon as possible EASO should become fully EASO 2012 and operational and contribute to building asylum onwards. capacity in the Southern Mediterranean countries.

F: Building on existing cooperation, MS-third MS, COM, FRONTEX Ongoing. countries regional network of cooperation in the Mediterranean should continue also within the future framework of the Eurosur proposal.

G. Strengthen the capacity of the Southern MS, COM Ongoing. Mediterranean countries for the control and surveillance of their external borders and for the return of the illegal immigrants to the countries of origin in a dignified manner.

5. Ensuring that the To enhance further the A: Conclude agreements on Mobility Partnerships COM, MS Ongoing. fight against illegal level of political and with relevant third countries.

migration is taken operational cooperation B: Further cooperation and coordination in the COM, MS Ongoing. into account when with the Eastern prevention of and the fight against illegal migration, developing Partnership countries in organised crime, trafficking in human beings, money dialogues with the the JHA areas. laundering and terrorism.

Eastern partners

(including the To ensure mobility in a

Eastern Partnership secure and well C: Convening meetings at ministerial level to ensure MS Ongoing. countries and non – managed environment. appropriate political guidance and coordination.

EU Prague Process partners).


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

6. Prevention of Intensify cooperation A: FRONTEX should make full use of its recently FRONTEX Ongoing. illegal immigration primarily with Serbia, to expanded mandate to step up assistance for border via the Western prevent and to fight control activities at the Hungarian-Serbian border. Balkans. increased illegal

immigration pressure on B: Implementation of the Action Plan with Serbia to MS, Hungary, COM Ongoing. the Hungarian-Serbian implement joint operations, law-enforcement training,

border. legislative alignment, develop migration and asylum capacities and establish a Common Contact Point –

Enhance the EU’s policy making full use of IPA Projects.

response to illegal immigration in the C: Provide IPA assistance and continue monitoring of COM, MS Ongoing. region. the further development of border, migration, asylum and visa systems in Western-Balkan countries. Continue assisting the relevant authorities of the Western-Balkan D: Develop cooperation at all levels with Western MS, COM Ongoing. countries and especially Balkan countries in combating criminal organisations Serbia in strengthening dealing with migrants' smuggling and trafficking in their capacity to combat human beings.

illegal immigration. E: Enhance inter-agency cooperation, notably FRONTEX, EUROPOL, Ongoing.

between FRONTEX, EUROPOL and EASO in EASO, COM accordance with their mandates, to address cross border crimes related to illegal immigration and contribute to assist asylum capacity in Western Balkan countries.

F: Support voluntary return and reintegration MS, COM, IOM Ongoing. programmes of Western Balkan countries, as appropriate and in a manner which avoids the risk of creating pull factors.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

7. Prevention of Ensure that the illegal A: Efforts to maintain and develop the current FRONTEX, MS Ongoing. illegal immigration immigration pressure in effective handling of the situation should continue to via the Western this area stays under ensure that the illegal immigration in this area stays Mediterranean and control and does not under control and does not develop negatively. the African Atlantic develop negatively. coast.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

II. Strategic priority area: Enhanced border management at the external borders

1. Strengthening Strengthening of the A: Mixed Committee to start up regular political COM, Council, EP First time June political guidance political Schengen discussions on Schengen Governance at ministerial 2012. and the legal Governance. level. framework regarding border control. Conclude negotiations on

proposals put forward by

the Commission. B: Conclude negotiations on the proposals on the MIXED COM, PRES Schengen:

Schengen Borders Code, the Schengen Governancepossibly First package and the Eurosur-proposal. semester 2012. Eurosur: Possibly beginning 2013.

C: COM to put forward proposals on the Entry/Exit COM Summer 2012. System and the Registered Travellers Programme.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

2. Preventing and Strengthening the security A: COM to present its first regular report to the COM May 2012. combating illegal and control at the European Parliament and to the Council on the immigration by Schengen external functioning of the Schengen cooperation and the ensuring strong and borders. application of the Schengen acquis.

efficient external B: FRONTEX to offer the coordination and FRONTEX Ongoing. border control. Implementation of the organisation of joint operations and improve

FRONTEX regulation. cooperation with other agencies and competent

border control authorities of Member States and Enhance inter-agency implement the new FRONTEX regulation. cooperation and cooperation between

agencies and Member C: Member States should where relevant make use MS No deadline.

States. of passenger data for improving border controls and combating illegal immigration in accordance with

Member States making requirements in Directive 2004/82 i/EF.

full use of passenger data

in accordance with D: An external evaluation of Directive 2004/82 i COM 2012

directive 2004/82 i/EF. (Advanced Passenger Information) is ongoing. Results to be shared with Member States.


identification of illegal E: Develop cooperation at appropriate levels with MS, FRONTEX, Ongoing. immigration routes inside countries of origin and transit in combating illegal EUROPOL

the Schengen area. immigration, criminal organisations dealing with smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human


F: Improve co-operation through exchange of MS, COM Ongoing. information and best practices in order to identify and curb illegal immigration routes inside the Schengen Area.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

G: Enhance inter-agency cooperation, notably FRONTEX, Ongoing. between FRONTEX, EASO and EUROPOL. EUROPOL, EASO Cooperation between EUROPOL and FRONTEX should also concern serious crimes at the external borders.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

III. Strategic priority area: Preventing illegal migration via the Greek-Turkish Border

1. Ensuring effective To fight illegal border A: Swift conclusion of negotiations of a working FRONTEX May 2012. border controls are in crossings by ensuring arrangement between the competent border control place at the Greekthat efficient measures authorities of Turkey and FRONTEX.

Turkish border. are in place for the

detection, prevention and B: Fully implement the findings of the 2005 and 2010 Greece 2005 findings to interception of illegal Schengen evaluation reports. be implemented migrants at the Greekbefore end of Turkish border. 2012. 2010

findings ongoing.

Increase capacity in C: Intensify monitoring of the Schengen Action Plan Council Ongoing. Greece by introducing for Greece. sustainable measures to reduce illegal D: Intensify support for Operations Poseidon and FRONTEX, MS June 2012 - immigration. Attica through increased contributions from Member November 2012. States.

E: Swift implementation of the Greek National Greece, COM, MS, Ongoing. Action Plan on Managed Migration and Asylum EASO Reform, focusing on increased operational capacity at the border, notably by optimising synergies between the different actors involved, including the Task Force on Greece.

2. Combating illegal To obtain an effective A: Continue assisting Turkish authorities through COM, MS Ongoing. immigration engagement of Turkish IPA and bilateral MSs' funds in strengthening their transiting Turkey to authorities to prevent capacity to combat illegal immigration.

EU. illegal immigration transiting through their B: Continue promoting the reform of border, COM Ongoing. territory towards the EU migration, asylum and visa systems in Turkey external borders.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

To sign and conclude the C: Develop cooperation at appropriate levels in order MS, FRONTEX, During 2012. EU-Turkey readmission to combat organised crime facilitating smuggling of EUROPOL agreement. Intensify migrants and trafficking of human beings. trilateral cooperation between Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey for joint D: Continue and step up the dialogue with Turkey COM Ongoing. border management and launched on 15 March 2012 in cooperation within the police cooperation. JHA area.

E: Develop cooperation between EUROPOL and EUROPOL Spring 2012. Turkish Police.

F: FRONTEX should make full use of its recently FRONTEX 2012 expanded mandate and strengthen its operational cooperation with the competent border control authorities of Turkey.

G. Establishment of a trilateral common contact Bulgaria, Greece, 2012 centre for police, border and customs cooperation Turkey between the Republic of Bulgaria, The Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Turkey in coordination with FRONTEX and EUROPOL within their respective mandates.

H: Enhance cooperation with the relevant Turkish MS, COM Ongoing. authorities in order to ensure the implementation of escorted transit and assisted voluntary return projects via Turkey.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

IV. Strategic priority area: Better tackling of abuse of legal migration channels

1. Prevent an Decrease the number of A: Assess expected impact on migration and risks to COM, FRONTEX, Continuous. increase of unfounded asylum EU’s internal security before launching a visa EASO, EUROPOL unfounded asylum applications from visa liberalisation dialogue with third countries. applications as a free third countries. direct consequence

of introducing a visa B: Assess the functioning of existing readmission

COM, MS Continuous. agreements with potential visa liberated third

free regime for a countries before launching a visa liberalisation third country and dialogue.

decrease the number of over-stayers in the

Schengen-area. C: Continued monitoring of the effects of current visa COM, MS, Continuous. free regimes with assistance of FRONTEX and FRONTEX, EASO

EASO in accordance with their mandates and in close cooperation with the third countries in question.

2. Combating and Decrease the level of A: Political agreement on the Commission proposal Council and EP First semester preventing illegal illegal work-force. to amend Visa Regulation 539/2001 i establishing a 2012. immigration caused suspension mechanism allowing for the rapid, by visa liberalisation. temporary suspension of the visa waiver for a third

country in the event of a sudden and considerable abuse of asylum procedures.

B: Make use of accelerated procedures and swift MS Ongoing. returns in full respect of EU and international standards as regards manifestly unfounded claims in case of abuse of visa liberalisation.

C: Gradual steps towards visa liberalisation with COM and Council Continuous. selected third countries while fully involving the Council on a case by case basis.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

D. Ensuring that visa liberalisation processes are COM and Council Continuous. based on progress in the third countries concerned involves the Council in the process and is not automatic.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

V. Strategic priority area: Safeguarding and protecting free movement by prevention of abuse by third country nationals

1. To improve the To gather, analyse and A: Improve understanding of possible abuse of COM, MS May 2012. understanding of share data on the fraud family reunification rights experienced by Member abuse of free and abuse at the EU level. States in light of the EMN study on “Misuse of the movement rights by Right to Family Reunification: marriages of third country To agree on a common convenience and false declarations of parenthood”.

nationals and methodology of gathering B: Consider whether and to what extent EUROPOL, PRES, COM, 2012 organised crime of data upon consultation in line with its mandate, could gather and analyse EUROPOL aiming at facilitating of the EMN study on data on the facilitation by organised criminal groups illegal immigration. “Misuse of the Right to of sham marriages and EU documentation fraud

Family Reunification: within the scope of EU crime priorities.

Marriages of Convenience and False

Declarations of C: Consider how better to gather and analyse data on MS, COM,FRONTEX 2012

Parenthood”. EU documentation fraud and facilitators detected at the external EU border.

To improve the

dissemination of D: Identify desired EU actions to tackle abuse and

COM, MS Ongoing. continue to support existing work to tackle trafficking

information, intelligence of human beings and organised crime aiming at and best practice between facilitating illegal immigration.

Member States to deter

and investigate abuse of E: Make effective use of Joint Investigation Teams PRES, COM Ongoing.

free movement rights. (JITs) to investigate sham marriages and EU documentation fraud.

F: Further develop the existing work of national MS, COM Ongoing. contact points established in the context of the FREEMO expert group and prepare a handbook on marriages of convenience, including indicative criteria to assist in the identification of sham marriages.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

To improve information G: Consider making use of EUROPOL Platform for MS Ongoing. sharing within Member Experts as a forum to share best practice and States (between experience. authorities involved in registering marriages,

social and legal H. Make full use of the national contact points MS Continuous. protection of children, established in the context of the FREEMO expert deciding on applications group of contacts in Member States for queries in for residence, awarding individual cases.

social benefits and job centres).

To identify and direct the action required to tackle the abuse.

2. To prevent the To ensure that travel A: Implement enhanced security standards for EU MS, COM, Article 6 2012 fraudulent documents used within documentation on legal stay (residence cards etc.) Committee acquisition and use the EU, including their together with secure issuing processes on the basis of of free movement issuance and validation, improved source documents (residence cards etc.) rights by third meet minimum security including the ability to take biometrics for third country nationals. standards, with a country nationals and work towards common

particular focus on ID and validation standards at borders and domestic controls.

residence cards. B: Improve the security of the application and PRES, COM, MS 2012

issuance processes for identity/EU documentation.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

VI. Strategic priority area: Enhancing migration management, including cooperation on return practices

1. Ensuring that all Putting in place a A: Ensure that EU legislation in the field of asylum MS Ongoing.

Member States have sustainable and credible and migration is fully implemented including the efficient migration EU policy approach to Return Directive and the Directive on Employers’ management the management of Sanctions. This will also facilitates the efficient and systems in place in migration and ensuring effective operation of immigration systems, order to be prepared contingency measures including processing and removing illegal migrants.

for fluctuating are in place for B: Ensuring statistical data and analysis is in place. COM, MS, EASO, Ongoing. migration pressures. unexpected flows of FRONTEX

migration. C: EASO will develop an early warning system MS, EUROSTAT, End 2012. Developing an early based on data received by Member States which COM warning system based on includes tailor-made assistance to Member States data received by asylum systems, for capacity building.

Member States. D: Closely monitor developments in respect of EASO First semester migration movements from Syria. 2012.

2. Maximising the To increase numbers of A: Ensuring that EU legislation in the field of COM, MS 2012-2013 potentials of a returns of illegal migration and asylum is fully implemented and common EU migrants and to develop facilitates efficient and effective returns.

approach in the field swift, sustainable and B: Ensuring that MS share best practises on return MS, FRONTEX, IOM PRES synthesis of return, both effective return using a (both voluntary and forced) and encouraging in June 2012.

voluntary and forced common EU approach, cooperation between the stakeholders in the field. WP on Migration in compliance with including more effective (expulsion)

existing EU acquis. joint return operations.

C: Improve operational co-operation on joint return MS, FRONTEX Ongoing. operations.


Challenge Goal Activity Responsible party Target Date Results

D: PRES questionnaire and synthesis on possible PRES Ongoing. common EU approach and best practices.

E: FRONTEX to offer assistance with capacity FRONTEX Ongoing. building, coordination and organisation of joint return operations.

F: MS to regularly inform FRONTEX of their MS, FRONTEX Ongoing. needs for assistance or coordination by the agency. FRONTEX should draw up a rolling operational plan to provide MS with necessary operational support.

G: FRONTEX should establish the Code of FRONTEX 2012 Conduct on return.

H: FRONTEX should enhance cooperation with FRONTEX Ongoing. third country authorities on best practices on acquisition of travel documents and return – and regularly report back to the Council and the FRONTEX Management Board on results achieved.

I: Support voluntary return programmes, improve MS, COM Ongoing. operational co-operation on assisted voluntary return programmes.




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