The opinion on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum presented by the European Commission on 23 September 2020 is an opportunity to practically address the issue of migration which, despite being a constant feature throughout human history, represents an urgent task for the EU and its Member States who need to build a stable migration system fully grounded in European values and international law. According to the European Commission, he Pact represents and attempt to 'move away from ad-hoc solutions and put in place a predictable and reliable migration management system' . It advocates integrated policy-making and comprises policies in the areas of asylum, migration, return, external border protection, fight against migrants’ smuggling and relations with third countries.
The policy area 'Migration and integration' falls under the CoR's overarching political priority 2: Managing fundamental societal transformations: Building resilient regional and local communities'. Under this priority, all European decisions should be taken in light of the commitment to tackle the major societal transformations
facing the villages, cities and regions.
The primary objective of this opinion is for the regional and local input to be taken into consideration in the reform of EU’s migration policy. This is because the socio-economic impact of migration and everyday questions of reception and integration of migrants are strongly felt at local and regional level. The issue can be even more significant for the cities and regions that are close to points of entry into the EU as well as for the ones that receive many asylum seekers or refugees. The experience shows that migration occurs not only cross border, but also within the same country from one region to another as migrants from the same town or region in countries of origin tend to concentrate in the same geographical areas in the host country . This must be acknowledged and these regions need additional support.
The position of the European Committee of the Regions with regards to future EU migration policies is contained in its Resolution adopted on 2 July 2020 concerning its priorities for 2020-2025, 'Europe closer to the people through its villages, cities and regions' . Under the points 41 and 42, the CoR's priorities (and hence the objectives of this opinion) are to:
Ensure that the EU develops a comprehensive, humanitarian and fair migration policy and does not leave its Member States, border regions, islands and outermost regions alone in dealing with the migration crisis, as this is both a national and a European issue; support the exchange of best practices between regional and local authorities on the integration of migrants;
Provide regional and local input into reforming the EU’s migration policy, including integration, fair return procedures and asylum policies that should be able to respond adequately to current and future migration trends; address the root causes of migration, in cooperation with countries of origin and transit, for those in need of humanitarian protection; protect the EU’s external borders; prevent irregular migration and fight against human trafficking;