• The European Commission presented options for reforming the Common European Asylum System and developing safe and legal pathways to Europe.

    On 6/04 the European Commission launched the process for a reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The Commission has identified priority areas where the Common European Asylum System should be structurally improved, and proposed steps to enhance safe and well-managed pathways for legal migration to Europe. The Commission is expected to present an EU Action Plan on Integration later this year.

    “Human mobility will be an inherent feature of the 21st century” Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said. However, as First Vice-Presidence Frans Timmermans underlined, “the current system is not sustainable. Different national approaches have fuelled asylum shopping and irregular migration, while we have seen in the ongoing crisis that the Dublin rules have placed too much responsibility on just a few Member States”.

  • EU Justice Scoreboard 2016: learning from each other to improve the effectiveness of national justice systems

    On 11/04 the European Commission published the 2016 EU Justice Scoreboard which gives a comparative overview of the efficiency, quality and independence of justice systems in the EU Member States. Based on the results of Eurobarometer surveys on the perception of judicial independence in the EU, th Scoreboard aims to assist national authorities in their efforts to improve their justice systems by providing this comparative data. The findings of the 2016 Scoreboard are being taken into account for the ongoing country-specific assessment carried out in the context of the 2016 European Semester process.

    The Scoreboard partly focuses on accessibility. One of the key findings in this areas is that accessibility of justice systems in on the increase, in particular in matters like electronic submission of small claims or promotion of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods. However, there is still room for improvement in online availability of judgements or electronic communication between courts and parties.

  • International Roma Day: Statement by First Vice-President Timmermans, Commissioner Thyssen, Commissioner Jourová and Commissioner Creţu

    “Equality before the law and non-discrimination are fundamental values of the European Union. Yet, anti-Gypsyism is still very common worldwide and in Europe. The exclusion, inequality and discrimination many Roma continue to face, is in strong contradiction with the Union’s core values.

    Roma do not have the same access to jobs, education, housing and healthcare. Forced evictions of Roma continue to cause concern. Moreover, the fact that Roma children often cannot benefit from the same quality of education as other children, perpetuates their vicious cycle of poverty. This is why we believe that there is an urgent need for Roma children in particular to get better access to education.

    The European institutions and Member States are committed to fighting discrimination and segregation and improving integration of the Roma community. Although the integration of Roma is primarily the responsibility of Member States, the “Europe 2020″ strategy prioritises actions that favour socio-economic inclusion of Roma people and prevent discrimination” (full text here)

  • Civil society shapes the European migration agenda: employment & integration are key priorities.

    The European Economic and Social Committee hosted the 2nd edition of the European Migration Forum (6-7 April) organised with the European Commission. The Forum has replaced the Integration Forum that was established by the Commission under the European Migration Agenda in 2009 to discuss over key topics that would benefit from a discussion with civil society. This time the Forum looked into the specific challenges faced by low and medium-skilled migrants, undeclared work and exploitation, access to the labour market, and the role of the local level and civil society in the integration process (background document here).

    Participants gathered concrete policy outputs through participatory and interactive workshops. These conclusions will feed into the European Commission’s forthcoming initiatives such as the “EU Action Plan on the integration of third-country nationals”.