A common immigration policy is a necessity. Why?

, by Sauvons l’Europe

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

A common immigration policy is a necessity. Why?

Simply because the free movement of persons in the European Union is guaranteed to the migrants, which reside legally within one of the member states. Therefore, any policy concerning immigration led by a country can, and does have, consequences for all the member states.

A common immigration policy has to allow the exercise of the principle of free movement in respect of both the fundamental rights and the equally of rights among residents of the Union. Besides, only a common immigration policy, answering at the same time the economic and demographic interests of the Union, will allow the EU to increase its influence abroad.


The European States, whose internal frontiers have now been erased, are confronted with the necessity of a strengthened cooperation on immigration matters, and need to go beyond this and build a common immigration policy. It would be catastrophic if the EU appeared as a closed fortress surrounded with high walls.


The common immigration policy should be based on the following principles:

Guarantee the fundamental rights for the migrants legally residing on the territory of the Union, in particular the right for a stable domestic life, meaning active family entry and settlement policies.

Answer the economic and demographic needs of the Union. The immigration will have to be an indispensable appeal to mitigate the failing of the natural growth of the population of the Union. However, adequate financial means must be set up to ensure the development of the countries of emigration: in case of a lack of a real co-development policy, the migratory streams will remain uncontrolled.

Use in the best way possible the competence and the resources of the migrants. Allow them to validate their experiences and to develop this competence through training.

Allow the mobility of the persons by favouring the possibility of short stays, for work or family reasons. Towards natural risk of evaporation of a part of these temporary migrants, it would be advisable to establish mechanisms favouring the renewal of these licenses of stay first and foremost to the persons respecting the obligation of return.

Develop a common policy of reception of the legal migrants and the applicants of asylum and favour adapted policies of integration.

Develop a common policy of regularization and\or eviction of the secret migrants. Establish procedures respectful of the persons, corresponding to the Charter of fundamental rights and to the international treaties, notably the Geneva Convention. Guarantee to the persons in irregular situation appeal procedures and the right for defence.

Envisaged solutions

To reach these objectives , Sauvons l’Europe proposes to the French Presidency of the EU to first of all gather an agreement of experts on the immigration question, demographers, unions, associations and NGOs, civil servants of the concerned administrations, the European, national and locally elected representative, the personalities qualified because of their moral authority, to make propositions at the end of the French Presidency. Ensure this agreement the means to work and publicise their work.

It will also be necessary to engage in a big information campaign on the subject “Welcome to Europe” in aid of the legal or settled migrants and the populations of member states. Furthermore, we wish to propose the creation of a European responsible for immigration, who would be in close contact with the EU representatives for foreign affairs.

Also, it is necessary to create a common office of immigration in third countries asked to welcome the applicants for immigration, and to inform them about the conditions of immigration towards the EU.

But a common immigration policy cannot be made without setting up a common policy to fight against human trafficking and networks of secret immigration. Finally, it seems to us primordial to define European criteria in the field of regularisation of secret migrants.

 photo taken from the website of the European Commission.
 logo of Sauvons l’Europe.

This comment was prepared on the occasion of the inquiry carried out by Euractiv.fr to get to know the expectations of the civil society from the French Presidency of the European Union; the inquiry was made at the end of 2007.

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