EU migration policy: "There is no long-term vision"

EU migration policy: "There is no long-term vision"
By Sophie Claudet
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Euronews 'Insiders' programme spoke to an immigration specialist about the European Union's response to the migration crisis

As part of an edition of 'Insiders' about migrants braving the Alps to enter France, we spoke to immigration specialist Yves Pascouau, associate senior research fellow at the Jacques Delors Institute and researcher at the University of Nantes, where he holds the Schengen Chair, created as part of the Alliance Europa programme. He also edits

Pascouau was previously director of the European Policy Centre and his research centres on European and national immigration, asylum and integration policies.

He regrets that EU member states don't have a united approach to migration, arguing that they remain divided on reforms to the Dublin Regulation and don't have an appropriate response to climate refugees.

Sophie Claudet, Euronews:

"We can't really talk about a harmonised European immigration policy, perhaps due to a lack of solidarity between member states and because there are political divisions. Is there a way to solve this problem?"

Yves Pascouau, European migration specialist, Institut Jacques Delors:

"I would say that the original or essential problem of European policy, just like national policies, is that there is no long-term vision. Today, member states and the European Union react to situations without taking a long-term position on setting objectives, establishing scenarios and envisaging measures and actions to be implemented with a view to hitting these targets over relatively long periods of up to 15, 20, 25 years. That political vision is missing."

Sophie Claudet:

"Let's talk about the so-called Dublin Regulation It is going to be revised, reformed. What can we expect from this reform?"

"Division between European Union member states"

Yves Pascouau:

"The next European Council, that's to say the meeting in June 2018 of heads of state and government, should come up with a set of guidelines on the further reform of the Dublin Regulation. But today we are in a deadlock, not to say a division between European Union member states - between those asking for more solidarity and those refusing to give it. Yet the Dublin Regulation is really about solidarity: What can we do to help frontline European Union member states, like Greece and Italy, to relieve their asylum system? And in this area, there are still deep divisions between European Union member states and it's uncertain, at this time, whether heads of government and state will be able to reach agreement on a Dublin revision."

Sophie Claudet:

"Let's talk about this distinction made between economic and political migrants when it comes to screening asylum-seekers. Is this distinction relevant?"

Yves Pascouau:

"The legal categories are what they are. People who can claim asylum - or what is more widely called international protection - are people who flee persecution, with good reason: so for example, people fleeing an armed conflict are those who typically are going to be able to benefit from international protection, asylum. People who don't fall into this category fall into a much broader grouping which is down to the goodwill - if we can put it like that - of states to take them or not. And in reality, the distinctions exist on that basis and as long as there is no legal framework allowing people fleeing poverty to be protected, well they will remain in the realm of state favour."

Sophie Claudet:

"But we can say that there are limits in the distinctions made by certain states. Iraq, for example, is considered, by and large, as a 'secure' zone by many European countries when that is not truly the case. The same thing goes for Afghanistan. But that is another debate....To conclude, lets talk about upcoming migration trends. There is a lot said about climate refugees and they exist already, in fact. Is Europe preparing itself? Is it aware that there will be an influx of climate refugees?"

"Are climate refugees eligible to a legal status that would protect them?"

Yves Pascouau:

"Has Europe geared itself up to take into account and address that question? I'm not sure. Having said that, there is a whole series of reports - and notably a report from the World Bank published in March - which show that most certainly, if we do nothing, both in terms of reducing greenhouse gases, and in terms of development policy, then by 2050 there will be 140 million people internally displaced in their countries whether it be in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or Latin America. So the effects of climate change on migration are clearly identified. Now we have to get ready to find an appropriate response which is both a European response - what will we do with the people who are forced to move because of drought, flooding, storms? And what are we doing within the international community to ask the question: Are climate refugees eligible to a legal status that would protect them? And that, in my opinion, is a question which is going to be on the political agenda for many years to come."

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