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Migration and asylum

International migration affects the Member States of the European Union (EU) and pose economic, social and demographic challenges. In this context, a coherent approach of migration at European level became necessary, in the form of a common policy. The main objective of this approach is to better manage migration flows by a coordinated approach which takes into account the economic and demographic situation of the EU.

The leaders of the EU set out at the October 1999 European Council in Tampere (Finland) the elements required for a EU immigration policy namely that:  

  • it be based on a comprehensive approach to the management of migratory flows so as to find a balance between humanitarian and economic admission;
  • a Common European Asylum System
  • it include fair treatment for third-country nationals aiming as far as possible to give them comparable rights and obligations to those of nationals of the Member State in which they live;
  • the development of partnerships with countries of origin including policies of co-development;

The first multiannual programme in the field of Justice and Home Affairs was agreed in Tampere in 1999 for a five-year period. 

This programme was followed  in 2004 with the adoption of The Hague Programme, which sets the objectives for strengthening freedom, security and justice in the EU for the period 2005-2010. 

In december 2009 the European Council adopted the new multiannual programme in the field of Justice and Home Affairs (2010-2014), known as the Stockholm Program

At the December 2007 European Council the EU leaders agreed on a renewed political commitment regarding immigration and asylum. In this respect, a political document - the European Pact on immigration and asylum - was adopted at the October 2008 European Council.This document proposes five political committments which will be implemented by concrete measures.