This report presents key developments in the area of migration and asylum, and it takes stock of the progress achieved in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum in the past year. It identifies key challenges ahead, highlighting the need for further progress towards a responsible and fair migration management system in the EU.
From Russia’s war against Ukraine causing the largest forced displacement of people in Europe since the Second World War, to the instrumentalisation of migration for political purposes by the Belarusian regime, through a pandemic and unprecedented travel restrictions, all alongside continued and even growing pressure on traditional migratory routes – the EU has over the last year been faced with a series of challenges with major repercussions for migration, asylum and border management. In each instance, the EU has shown itself able to react quickly, with concrete solidarity and effective coordination. Nevertheless, these developments have also been a vivid reminder that structural reforms to the EU’s asylum and migration system are needed to equip the EU to address both crisis situations and longer-term trends.
Vice-president Schinas said: “When faced with dramatic events having major repercussions for migration, asylum and border management, the EU has shown the combined strength and collective political will to act quickly and resolutely. Outside the EU, determined and united EU action can bring impressive results. Within the EU, the kind of solidarity we showed to Ukrainians must continue to be present in our migration debate and to inspire our future actions.”
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “Ahead of the upcoming Justice and Home Affairs Council, the Commission is presenting this report which highlights clearly the urgent need to Europeanise migration policy. As the migration response to the illegal invasion of Ukraine showed, a joint European response works. The more than 4 million Ukrainians who have been given practical, meaningful help, would agree. Effective external border controls, while respecting fundamental rights, helping those in need and looking after our long-term labour needs, requires Member States to recognise that we can only make progress on migration policy by working together.”
The Commission continues to monitor developments along the main migratory routes:
- The Central Mediterranean route remains the most frequently used route. Almost all arrivals were to Italy, with Malta seeing a substantial decrease.
- Irregular arrivals along the Eastern Mediterranean route doubled compared to 2021, mostly due to heightened migratory pressure in Cyprus, which currently accounts for roughly 60% of arrivals along the route.
- On the Western Mediterranean/Atlantic route, Algeria and Morocco/Western Sahara remain the main countries of departure towards mainland Spain and the Canary Islands.
- Along the Western Balkans route, there were over 86 000 detected irregular border crossings in the first eight months of 2022, nearly three times more than in 2021 and more than ten times the total in the same period in 2019. Given the sharp increase of arrivals, the Commission is monitoring the situation via the Blueprint Network with increased vigilance and is stepping up engagement with partners in the Western Balkans as well as with the most affected EU Member States to address the situation.
- The situation at the Eastern border with Belarus continues to be stable, with a significantly lower number of irregular border crossings than at the peak of the instrumentalisation crisis in 2021.
The report takes stock of the progress achieved and the key developments in the area of migration and asylum over the past year, notably highlighting:
- Unprecedented solidarity with Ukraine: Europe has offered an unprecedented welcome to millions of people fleeing the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, through the first-ever activation of the Temporary Protection Directive; the setting up of a Solidarity Platform and the implementation of a 10-point plan for a coordinated European response (see factsheet).
- Strong external border management: As a core part of the approach of the Pact, strong focus has been paid to ensuring external border management through the implementation of the new IT architecture and interoperability; important steps in building a common EU system of return including through the appointment of a Return
- Coordinator; and enforcement of a strategic and structured visa policy.
- Working with international partners: Over the past year, the EU has stepped up its work to pursue mutually beneficial cooperation in the area of migration. The EU is a leading global actor and donor in improving the protection and assistance to forcibly displaced people and their hosts, saving lives and laying the foundations for durable solutions. At the same time, there has been progress in addressing issues of returns, readmission, border management and smuggling networks in partnerships with key third countries that reflect a balance of their needs and EU interests.
- Countering hybrid threats: Timely, resolute and united EU outreach to partners can bring impressive results, as demonstrated by the response to the Belarusian regime’s instrumentalisation of migrants. The Commission worked with countries of origin and transit, as well as with airline companies and civil aviation authorities, to build a coalition to counter this hybrid attack.
The EU institutions are on good track to making progress on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, also supported by the Council Presidencies and the European Parliament. The Pact offers the comprehensive approach needed to manage migration in an effective and humane way.
The EU Agency for Asylum, succeeding the European Asylum Support Office, stepped up its operations in January 2022 when the Regulation establishing the Agency entered into force.
At the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council of 3 February 2022, the Presidency proposed a step-by-step approach aimed at ultimately leading to a comprehensive European migration, border and asylum policy. In May 2022, the Return Coordinator took office at the Commission to promote a more coherent and effective approach to returns.
In June 2022, under the French Presidency, Member States agreed on negotiation mandates for the Screening and Eurodac regulations. These are key proposals for better and more effective procedures to help tackle irregular migration, improve returns and better support the asylum system.
Also in June 2022 we welcomed Member States’ political agreement in the Council to start implementing the voluntary solidarity mechanism. This ensures that countries with available reception capacity express their solidarity by welcoming people. The mechanism is already being implemented and the first relocation already took place.
The Commission welcomed the political agreement on 7 September between the European Parliament and the Council. We now have a Joint Roadmap on the Common European Asylum System and the Pact on Migration and Asylum.
Source: European Commission