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European Agenda on Migration - first measures

27 May 2015
by eub2 -- last modified 27 May 2015

The European Commission adopted on 27 May the first proposals of its comprehensive approach to improving the management of migration. Following the terrible loss of life in the Mediterranean last month, European leaders made a firm commitment to solidarity amongst Member States to address the common migratory challenges. In these first proposals, the Commission sets out immediate and long-term responses to the migration challenges that Europe faces.


The Commission is presenting several different and concrete measures to respond to the current migration challenges:

  • Relocation: Emergency response mechanism to assist Italy and Greece: The Commission is proposing to use the emergency response mechanism under Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This provision, which is being activated for the first time, will be used to set up an emergency relocation scheme to assist Italy and Greece. This scheme will apply to Syrian and Eritrean nationals in need of international protection that arrived in either Italy or Greece after 15 April 2015 or that arrive after the mechanism is launched. A total of 40 000 persons should be relocated from Italy and Greece to other EU Member States based on a distribution key (see Annex 1 and 2) over the next 2 years – corresponding to approximately 40% of the total number of asylum seekers in clear need of international protection who entered these countries in 2014. The Commission is ready to do the same if other Member States – such as Malta – also face a sudden influx of migrants. Member States will receive €6,000 for each person relocated on their territory.
  • Resettlement: The Commission has adopted a Recommendation asking Member States to resettle 20 000 people from outside the EU, in clear need of international protection as identified by the UNHCR, over 2 years, based on a distribution key (see Annex 3). Member States who participate in the scheme will be entitled to financial support, with the EU making €50 million available in 2015-16.
  • An EU Action plan against migrant smuggling: The Plan for 2015-2020 sets out concrete actions to prevent and counter migrant smuggling. Actions include setting up a list of suspicious vessels; dedicated platforms to enhancing cooperation and exchange of information with financial institutions; and cooperating with internet service providers and social media to ensure internet content used by smugglers to advertise their activities is swiftly detected and removed.
  • Guidelines on Fingerprinting: For the EU's common asylum system to work effectively, migrants need to be systematically fingerprinted upon arrival. The Commission services have published guidelines for Member States setting out a best practices approach for fingerprinting newly arrived applicants for international protection. "Hotspot" teams from EASO, Frontex and Europol will work on the ground to swiftly identify, register and fingerprint incoming migrants and assess those who are in need of protection.
  • A public consultation on the future of the Blue Card Directive: The Commission wants to improve the existing EU Blue Card scheme, which aims to make it easier for highly skilled people to come and work in the EU but is currently scarcely used. The public consultation invites stakeholders (migrants, employers, governmental organisations, trade unions, NGOs, employment agencies, etc.) to share their views on the EU Blue Card and how it can be improved.

The Commission also takes note of a new Operational Plan for Operation Triton. The new Operational Plan for the reinforced Joint Operation Triton sets out the new number of assets: 10 maritime, 33 land and 8 air assets, and 121 human resources. The Operational Plan also extends the geographical area of Triton southwards to the borders of the Maltese search and rescue zone to cover the area of the former Italian Mare Nostrum operation.


On 23 April 2014, in Malta, Jean-Claude Juncker presented a five point plan on immigration, calling for more solidarity in the EU's migration policy as part of his campaign to become European Commission President.

Upon taking office, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker entrusted a Commissioner with special responsibility for Migration to work, in coordination with First Vice-President Timmermans, on a new policy on migration as one of the 10 priorities of the Political Guidelines, the political programme based on which the European Parliament elected the Commission.

Based on a proposal by the European Commission, in a European Council statement of 23 April 2015, Member States committed to taking rapid action to save lives and to step up EU action in the field of migration. A European Parliament Resolution followed a few days later.

On 13 May 2015, the Commission presented its European Agenda on Migration, which sets out a comprehensive approach that will improve the management of migration in all its aspects.

Questions & Answers on the proposals