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Resolution n° 2 adopted by the EPP Congress, Marseille (France), 7th-8th December 2011

Immigration and Integration


The topics of immigration and integration are central to the European People´s Party. Immigration
is a reality and it has enriched Europe for centuries. The ability of our societies and labour markets
to integrate newcomers must, nevertheless, remain a key concern when it comes to shaping new

Migration leads to changes, in both home and host societies, in social structures, identities,
attitudes, norms and practices. A growing divergence between the degrees of population growth
in the developed and developing nations is likely to spur on more intensive South-North migration
pressure. Further migration pressure might emanate from climate changes, health threats,
political instability and other social or environmental disasters. A substantial drop in living
standards in the countries of origin resulting therefrom, may lead to social tension and trigger
migratory movements. This phenomenon is obviously not confined to South - North movements
only but can also be seen in an East - West direction.

The EPP supports a functioning migration policy, which reflects our European values. We are

 to a Common European Asylum System;

 to controlled, targeted immigration;
 to prevention of irregular immigration, which constitutes an increasing challenge for the
 to a more effective border control with countries of origin and transit;
 to enforcement of readmission agreements;
 to integrating legal migrants into broader society; and
 to fostering the social integration of migrants.

Consequently, we need to allow for greater coherence and effectiveness through enhanced
cooperation between multiple stakeholders such as governments, civil society and the private

State of affairs

Europe is witnessing escalating pressure from migration. In this regard, we have to take into
consideration the extent of our integration capacity, which is not unlimited. We have to be aware
of the different types and nature of migration:

- Persons in need of international protection (Asylum): The commitment to protect victims of

persecution is one of the European Union’s shared fundamental values. Our humanitarian
approach finds its expression in the "asylum policy", which welcomes people, regardless of their
origin, age, sex, state of health, beliefs or qualifications, once it is established that the criteria
for obtaining international protection are met. In establishing a Common European Asylum
System, the main challenge is to identify those in need and guarantee them protection.

- Legal and controlled migration, such as permanent immigration, seasonal immigration, blue
card / highly skilled immigration, circular migration etc., should be seen as the only form of
immigration that is able to address economic and demographic shortages, where they exist in
some European countries. Therefore, in Europe we must put more emphasis on developing
efficient and practical forms of legal migration. In this respect, it is also essential to develop
better methods of recognising the diplomas and professional qualifications of non EU legal
migrants in order to give them the potential to work in adequate jobs, which match their

- Irregular migration: The fight against irregular immigration and human trafficking requires a
global approach. Irregular migrants are not the right solution for possible economic and
demographic challenges in Europe. Irregular migrants have the potential to aggravate problems
in our social and health insurance systems. They must as a consequence be returned to their
countries of origin.

Conditions for a European immigration policy

The answer to the challenges we face can be found in the definition of a controlled immigration
policy, recognising the mixed nature of migration flows and based on the mutual interest and
needs of our economy and the genuine capacity of our countries to integrate new arrivals.

Four conditions need to be met when defining such a policy:

­ a clear commitment to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the obligations of International
Law, including the Geneva Convention;
­ an assessment of the genuine labour market needs in the Member States;
­ a close coordination and cooperation between the European countries, which respects
particular national circumstances of each country; and
­ partnerships with the countries of origin.

What are the guidelines for such a policy?

a.) Recasting asylum legislation in Europe:

The European People's Party is promoting a fairer and faster, as well as a more effective, Common
European Asylum System. During the last few years, we have adopted, and further developed, a
number of legislative instruments aimed at improving the Common European Asylum System.

For this purpose, we need to further:

- harmonise existing rules in order to ensure -equal treatment of asylum applicants among
Member States and avoid secondary movements.
- identify appropriate reception conditions that can be met in view of the actual capacity of
the Member States to deal with asylum requests;
- tackle the abuse of asylum systems better, by relying on best practices in Member States;
- ensure that EU Legislation is fully and coherently applied in all Member States;
- if other aid measures and the EU's support measures do not suffice, and if the pressure
remains at a disproportionately high level despite the Member State concerned having

made all reasonable efforts to comply with EU law, it should be possible, in order to ensure
solidarity, to relocate beneficiaries of international protection within the EU on a voluntary
- confirm Member States' own responsibility in complying with the Asylum Acquis, whilst
supporting those Member States whose reception capacities and asylum authorities are
overburdened; for this objective, we need an effective evaluation mechanism and an early
warning system, which involve appropriate measures to support the implementation of the
EU asylum legislation and prevent emergency situations;
- look into improving the structures of financial assistance from the relevant EU funds, in co-
operation with other Member States;
- promote a more active use of the EU resettlement programme;
- support countries of origin and transit countries in developing their own asylum systems in
conformity with international law; and
- strengthen the practical cooperation among EU Member States and with third countries
through the assistance of the European Asylum Support Office.

b.) Managing legal migration flows:

The legal migration of highly qualified skilled workers into the European labour market is regulated
by the “Blue Card” Directive. This should open doors to those employees that are best qualified. We
also recognise the needs of workers of other skill levels. However, each Member State retains the
possibility to channel immigration into the labour market.

We must make Europe more attractive to highly qualified immigrants and we have to develop,
therefore, a method of recognising diplomas and professional qualifications of legal non EU

c.) Tackling irregular immigration:

In order to address irregular migration we need to step up our efforts with regards to voluntary
return, re-admission and to improving our information policy on possibilities of legal migration to
the EU.

We therefore:

­ reject mass regularisations;

­ call on the fight against human trafficking networks;
­ Reinforcing controls at the EU external borders - there is a need for effective border
controls (better Schengen governance and surge capacity of Frontex); as well as proactive
and coherent cooperation between the EU, the countries of origin and the transit
countries. The introduction of the “smart borders” technologies could also contribute to a
more effective border control;
­ support the closer cooperation between EU Member States and the countries of origin and
transit, in order to enhance economic growth and support foreign investments, taking into
account that this kind of support should be linked to a joint effort in the fight against
irregular migration;
­ ask, as a matter of priority, for readmission agreements at EU or bilateral level with third
countries. We consider the Return Directive as a milestone in the fight against the

exploitation of irregular immigrants and a guarantee for a robust and prompt repatriation
of irregular immigrants to their countries of origin.

d.) Being more supportive towards legally residing immigrants' integration:

Persons, who come to the EU and want to live and work there, have to accept variety, tolerance,
religious freedom, democracy and the rule of law as fundamental values.

Host societies have to contribute to the successful integration of immigrants. On the other hand,
immigrants have to undertake active integration efforts. Host societies have the right to ask
immigrants to respect the rules of their societies and the law.

It is of the utmost importance that immigrants themselves integrate and take an active role in
society. Learning the language of the host country is a precondition for work and essential for
integration into society. It is the basis for positive experiences in securing one's own means of
existence and preventing personal failures. Hence, language skills are vital in the prevention of the
development of parallel societies. Further, immigrants should learn about history and
characteristics of their new environment. In this regard the housing segregation of ethnic groups
should also be addressed.

Our Member States should develop policies and measures that foster the integration of migrants
into our countries. In this respect, the EU should improve existing tools within integration policies,
develop new instruments and establish more measures.

Funding and investment by different stakeholders for the integration of migrants is vital.

By promoting this approach on immigration and integration to Europe the European People´s
Party is convinced that, in the future, we will also be able to shape the policies in this field.
Implementing the right policies, we are welcoming persons in need of protection and legal
immigrants to Europe as we are aware that in the future they will also contribute to the further
development of our societies.