In 2019, 2.7 million people migrated from non-member countries to the EU. As of 1 January 2020, 23 million non-EU citizens are living in the Union. i. Over the years, migration has become increasingly present in the media due to several migration crises and it is a key issue that the EU and Member States need to confront. The EU and its Member States are continuously working to establish an effective, humanitarian and safe European migration policy.
On 10 December 2021, high school students from Lithuania, Spain and Italy, for the last time took on the role of the EU institutions and this time they decided to work on a Directive addressing migration issues. Due to the ongoing pandemic this event was done virtually and replaced the session that was scheduled to take place in Palanga, Lithuania. Greece and Romania partners were unable to attend.
The event began with a wonderful video introduction of the host country: Palanga, Lithuania. The aim of this simulation game was for high school students to discuss, debate and agree on the Directive on migration proposed by the European Commission (Lithuania). The simulation began with a brief introduction to the topic of migration and a short video by the European Commission. Following this introduction to the topic, Lithuania (European Commission) presented their Directive with proposals to be discussed and debated by the European Parliament (Italy and Spain).
The European Parliament (Italy and Spain) presented their position on the different proposals to the rest of their colleagues. Some of the raised points included:
Proposal 1: Member States welcome legal immigration according to EU approved immigration rules.
- Create a European Network to define the framework for migration and asylum, i.e. preliminary screening, possible repatriation, assistance in settling in MS country
Proposal 2: Build strong immigration pathways for admission to the EU from third countries.
- The EU must work together with those third countries from which migrants originate, specifically illegal immigrants, in order to help with the social and economic problems that cause migratory waves.
Proposal 3: Immigrants seeking admission to the EU must follow EU’s immigration rules. Illegal immigrants cannot be given priority over legal immigrants. Immigrants who break the rules will be sent back to their home countries and will be denied access to the EU for 10 years.
- The EU must create an efficient framework to tackle irregular migration and ensure that Border Member States are not solely responsible for the social and economic problems caused by illegal migration
- Establish a Committee to monitor irregular migration
Proposal 4: Admitted immigrants are allocated to Member States under the joint EU resettlement scheme
- All Member States will share the responsibility of legal immigration
- Create necessary mechanisms for immediate reception in Member States to prevent overflow of immigrants in border Member States and subsequent humanitarian issues
Proposal 5: Member States are responsible for local integration of immigrants
- Allocate some of EU budget for financial support to Member States regarding the settlement of immigrants
- Provide proper medical care and education to migrants without discrimination
Proposal 6: No sooner than 5 years, the Commission shall carry out a review of the Directive and create a report to assess the Directive. Member States must provide the Commission with the necessary information for the preparation of the report.
- No additional comments. Agreed to the necessity of a review and report on migration Directive.
After taking into consideration the feedback and final remarks by the European Parliament, the final vote was:
Proposal 1 to 6: Approved by Qualified Majority
The final voting signaled for the end of the workday and the event.
This was the last REP2019 event. Many thanks to the students, participants and partners that contributed to this project.