Sommaire: 20 November 2007, Brussels - Council of the European Union, 2831st External Relations Council meeting, conclusions on coherence between EU migration and development policies
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
1. The 2005 EU Joint Development Policy Statement 'The European Consensus on Development' expresses a commitment to strengthen Policy Coherence for Development (PCD), which aims at building synergies between development and other policies, within the framework of improving the coherence, efficiency, and visibility of the Union's external policies.
2. Migration is one of twelve policy areas, specified in the Council Conclusions of May 2005 and the Rolling PCD Work Programme 2006-2007, for which the EU has committed itself to pursue PCD objectives, setting priorities for action as a means to contribute to poverty reduction and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
3. An integrated, comprehensive and balanced view of the whole migration agenda was set out in the December 2005 and December 2006 European Council Conclusions on the 'Global Approach to Migration', which focused on Africa and the Mediterranean region, as well as in the European Council Conclusions of June 2007, which extended this approach to the Eastern and South-Eastern regions neighbouring the European Union. These June 2007 Conclusions reiterated the need to make rapid progress in developing a comprehensive European migration policy based on common political principles, capable of taking account of all aspects of migration, including the migration and development agenda, based on a genuine partnership with third countries and fully integrated into the Union's external policies.
4. The commitments endorsed at both the Euro-African Conference on Migration and Development of July 2006 in Rabat and the EU-Africa Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development of November 2006 in Tripoli underlined the importance of political dialogue under Articles 8 and 13 of the Cotonou Agreement and the relevant provisions of the Euro-Mediterranean agreements.
5. The EU-Africa Summit in December 2007 in Lisbon is expected to adopt a joint EU Africa Strategy and an Action Plan that will establish - inter alia - an EU-Africa Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment, with the aim of providing holistic responses to these issues both within Africa and between Africa and Europe, in the interest of all partners.
Policy coherence in the areas of migration and development
6. The Council welcomes the Commission's first biennial EU report on PCD and takes note of its conclusions on migration, in particular on the need to pursue a constructive and coherent approach to migration policies on the basis of dialogue.
7. Migration, if properly managed, can promote closer ties between countries of origin, transit and destination, help meet existing and future labour needs and contribute to the development of all countries. Hence, it is important to harness the positive links and synergies between relevant policy areas for the benefit of migrants themselves, the EU and partner countries.
8. The Council notes positively the progress achieved in the establishment of a policy framework and the launch of a political dialogue at continental, regional and country level in the field of migration and development. The Council and the Member States will work closely with the Commission to carry on efforts in further implementing and enhancing the Global Approach to Migration, as well as the commitments taken at Rabat and Tripoli.
Supporting developing countries in strengthening their migration management capacities
9. The Council invites the Commission and the Member States to continue to make efforts to ensure that, in dialogue with partners countries, migration issues are further integrated in national development strategies; in particular, to further promote country-led policy orientations, agreements and action plans in the pursuit of concrete measures that reinforce the contribution of migration to poverty reduction and to the achievement of the MDGs.
10. In the framework of the existing policy instruments, the Council invites the Commission and the Member States to commit themselves to support developing countries in putting in place responses to migration and to its causes, including through the strengthening their migration management capacities, in order to enhance the positive synergies of migration and development.
11. The Council stresses the importance of taking further measures to ensure that the human rights of migrants, including the right to seek asylum, as well as the right to effective protection of refugees, are fully respected in the European Union and third countries. Special attention should be given to ensure the rights of women and children.
12. The Council stresses that development is the most effective long-term response to forced and illegal migration and trafficking of human beings. In this context, the Council underlines the need to strengthen, jointly with partner countries, the management of migration flows in a spirit of partnership and shared responsibility. The Council further underlines the importance of both parties to cooperate in migration issues, including those related to readmission and return.
13. Possibilities of greater mobility, including well managed legal migration and initiatives of circular migration should be further explored, as a means to ensure that all parties involved can draw benefits there from. Circular migration could be a meaningful component of possible mobility partnerships. Measures aimed at its promotion, including measures to encourage the return to the countries of origin, taken by both the countries of origin and destination, could help the development of these countries by promoting the legal transfer of skills and know-how.
14. The Council invites the Commission to further develop its dialogue with developing countries and regions on employment and social policies, as part of the efforts to promote decent work. In this context, better access to professional training in specific critical sectors should be promoted, in direct response to local, national and external labour market needs.
15. The Council urges all relevant parties to further develop and apply instruments helping to turn brain drain into brain gain, e.g. through brain circulation in key sectors, including health and education. In this context needs and impact assessments should be further explored. The Council also notes the importance of avoiding brain waste in several sectors, both in countries of origin and destination.
16. The problems of human resources for health should be dealt with in the context of strengthening a pro-poor and equitable national health system, including as part of sector reforms. The Council calls on the Commission and the Member States to fully take into account the critical shortage of health workers in their health programming with developing countries. The Council stresses the commitment to implement as soon as possible the Council Conclusions of May 2007 regarding an EU Code of Conduct for ethical recruitment of health workers. In this regard, actors should also draw on Member States' best practices.
17. In the same way, the Council calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure full consideration of the critical shortages of other categories of skilled workers in developing countries, including, when appropriate, by adopting measures to address the risks of brain drain.
Remittances and diaspora
18. The Council calls upon all relevant parties to implement measures facilitating the transfer of remittances, making them cheaper, faster and safer. Furthermore, the Council welcomes action conducive to capacity- and infra-structure building in the financial sectors of countries of origin to foster the impact of remittances of their development, while bearing in mind the private nature of these assets.
19. Diaspora/migrant communities may play an important role in promoting and carrying out co-development projects, which can generate benefits to countries of origin, transit and destination, as well as to migrants themselves, including to their relations with countries of destination. The Council calls upon all relevant parties to ensure policy coherence regarding the migrant communities, particularly between policies of admission, integration and development cooperation. Moreover the Council encourages the implementation of measures to enhance dialogue with all stakeholders, allowing for greater ownership and increased capacity for a more productive investment and use of the resources of migrant communities.
Implementing PCD on migration
20. The Council intends to take concrete steps towards implementing PCD on migration, i.a. through further developing and, where applicable, putting into practice tools for policy measures, such as migration profiles, cooperation platforms, migration observatories, migration routes initiatives, co-development initiatives, mobility partnerships based on voluntary participation, all of which greatly rely upon coherence and coordination between all stakeholders involved.
21. Further action supported by financial instruments such as the 'Thematic Programme on Migration and Asylum' of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), as well as its geographical programmes, the Instrument for Stability (IS), the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) and the European Development Fund (EDF) is most welcome. In this context, the use of Justice and Home Affairs financial instruments should also be taken into account where possible. The Council also considers that projects, for example financed under the existing European Investment Bank (EIB) mandates, may help develop the capacity and infra-structure of countries of origin.
22. The Council recognizes the need for a better data collection on all migration and development dimensions as a means to foster adequate policy-making based on accurate knowledge.
23. While referring to its Conclusions on PCD in general, the Council underlines the need to strengthen efforts aimed at deepening coherence between migration, development cooperation and employment, with the aim to promote development in the countries of origin.
24. The Council urges the Commission and Member States to develop and reinforce, as appropriate, the use of PCD procedures and mechanisms, including dialogue with partner countries, to ensure that positive synergies between migration and development are identified and maximized. The Council further calls on the Commission and Member States to pursue efforts in order to ensure that the development dimension is more systematically addressed in the EU migration and employment policies.
25. The Council invites the Commission to specifically report, in its next EU Report on PCD, on progress accomplished in policy coherence for development in the implementation of migration policies.