COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL AND THE COUNCIL MANAGING MIGRATION IN ALL ITS ASPECTS: PROGRESS UNDER THE EUROPEAN AGENDA ON MIGRATION
1. This progress report highlights the Commission’s view that the December European Council offers a decisive moment in finding lasting solutions to the issue of EU responsibility and solidarity ahead of the European Parliament elections in May. The Commission draws on the conclusions agreed at the June European Council and Jean-Claude Junker’s State of the EU speech from earlier this year, in which he asked Member States to agree the multiple proposals under the European Agenda on Migration which are already on the table as a matter of priority. In the Commission’s view, these will address the weaknesses in EU systems which came to light during the migration crisis of 2015/16 and deliver a sustainable and balanced EU migration response now and for the future. In turn, it will allow Member States to return the Schengen area to a state of stability and normal functionality.
The evolving nature of migration and asylum challenges
2. The Commission highlights that overall arrivals at the EU’s borders are now at pre-crisis levels. So far in 2018, the total number is 116,000, 30% lower than the same period in 2017. However, there are localised increases in flows. In particular, the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement should continue given a 30% increase in flows so far in 2018 from Turkey via Greek and Western Balkan land routes; and new and intensified efforts are needed on the Western Mediterranean route given it has seen the largest number of arrivals so far in 2018, with 57,000 – a 127% increase on 2017. Meanwhile, there has been an 80% reduction in arrivals across the Central Mediterranean since summer 2017 with 23,000 so far in 2018.