E.g., 07/23/2016
E.g., 07/23/2016

The Development of EU Policy on Immigration and Asylum: Rethinking Coordination and Leadership

Policy Briefs
March 2015

The Development of EU Policy on Immigration and Asylum: Rethinking Coordination and Leadership

While policymakers in the European Union are working on a European Agenda on Migration to address the short- and long-term migration and asylum challenges facing the region, it has become clear that the modus operandi of the European institutions is ill equipped to respond in either a timely or comprehensive manner. The process for developing, implementing, and reviewing legislation has failed to ensure coherent, robust outcomes. Furthermore, immigration as a topic has outgrown the Home Affairs portfolio, and as such needs to be addressed in a more cross-cutting fashion, involving multiple spheres of government. 

During the reorganization of the European Commission in late 2014, the Home Affairs portfolio was renamed and restructured as the new Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), reflecting the high priority of the topic for the new president and other leaders. However, the change has yet to be substantiated with deeper reconfiguration to the supporting framework on coordination, which must be strengthened for existing policy to be sustained and effective new policy created.

This policy brief addresses the underlying mechanisms of policymaking around migration and asylum at the European Union level and identifies areas in which the EU institutions must reform if they are to ensure that the policy solutions designed in Brussels have the desired effect on the ground. The brief highlights the need for stronger leadership and coordination on immigration policy—which still lacks a coherent, comprehensive approach beyond the Home Affairs domain—as well as for the allocation of resources, political and otherwise, to effect real change, both within the European Union and with third countries. 

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Reinvigorating Leadership

III. Cross-Cutting Policy Development

A. The European Commission

B. The Council of Ministers

IV. Monitoring and Implementation

What to Do

V. Conclusions