EU migration policy overhaul in slow progress (3)

09:45, June 24, 2011      

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"Migration, let's face it, is an emotive issue - one where perceptions matter," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Tuesday in a press conference.

The commission's proposals would be done through "strengthening the Frontex border agency and through an evaluation mechanism, whereby national border agencies will work jointly on assessing threats," Barroso said.

"This is not a rollback of the abolition of internal borders...I will be looking for a clear endorsement of this approach from the European Council so that the detailed Commission proposals can be finalized," he said.

The resolution to guard Schengen as one of the EU's hallmark agreements has been repeatedly made by EU officials at all levels for the past few months, and yet everything else seems to have progressed slowly.

Take the European asylum support office as an example, the commission had proposed to establish it in 2009, and it was approved in 2010 and only became fully operational until this month.

Facing an agreed deadline to establish a common European asylum system by the end of 2012, the negotiations on the asylum package have also stalled as many member states have concerns about its high cost.

Earlier this month, the EU also delayed its decision whether to admit Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen zone until at least September, despite the fact that the two youngest EU members had met all technical requirements.

On the eve of the two-day summit, EU's home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom strongly urged the top leaders to make more efforts in resettling migrants and asylum seekers from North Africa.

But the climate at the summit did not seem positive and the conclusions could be tough, said Yves Pascouau, a senior migration policy analyst with the Brussels-based think tank European Policy Center.

"The wording of the conclusions will be very important as it will determine how far member states have agreed to go," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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