Eu countries| Scholz outlines a plan for future EU immigration law


Olaf Scholz, the chancellor of Germany, spoke about the future of the EU's immigration policy on Monday, August 29, in Prague. He urged the community to strike a balance between solidarity and border security.


"Millions of people around the world still consider Europe a dream destination. On the one hand, that demonstrates amply the beauty of our continent, according to Scholz. It's a fact that we Europeans must confront, though, at the same time.


The lengthy address, which covered a wide range of topics, was given at Charles University in Prague.


After providing a summary of the current issues the EU is facing—of which the destabilizing effects of Russia's aggression against Ukraine took center stage—Scholz argued for reform through enlargement, sovereignty through trade, technology, and strategic defense, and defense of the rule of law throughout the Union.


The EU's attitude to immigration, along with financial policy, was cited by Scholz as one of the causes of "the greatest conflicts among us in years past."


The German leader highlighted the EU's implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive and praised its "progress on migration policy."


The European Commission has suggested that border checks be streamlined and that persons fleeing the conflict in Ukraine be given "temporary protection" within the EU. On Thursday, the issue will be decided by EU interior ministers.


Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and following adoption by the European Council on March 4, the Temporary Protection Directive, a mechanism created following the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia to provide immediate and temporary protection for a mass influx of displaced people, was implemented for the first time.


According to Frontex, the EU's border agency, 7.6 million Ukrainian nationals have come to the EU from Moldova and Ukraine since Russia's invasion.


"A little bit of normality far from home: a speedy and secure residency permit, the possibility to work, the ability to attend school or [...] university," according to Scholz, is the reality underlying the Directive.


A balancing act


Future migration policy will require the EU to establish "binding agreements with countries of origin and transit - as equal partners," according to Scholz.


"We should act more quickly than before to grant beneficiaries of protection who are lawfully present in the EU the right to seek employment in other EU member states and put their abilities to use where they are needed."


The Chancellor did, however, issue a warning against becoming "naive." In instances when there is no genuine willingness to work, for example, the EU "must prohibit abuse at the same time," he said.


"If we provide more legal routes for workers to enter Europe, nations of origin must be more willing to allow their nationals to return when they are unable to do so.


Additionally, he emphasized the need to "protect[e] and develop[]" the Schengen region's exterior boundaries. With that protection, the Schengen region "stands or falls," he claimed.


Freedom of mobility won't lead to overburdened social-security systems if we can control that. We can ensure enduring popular support for this outstanding European freedom in this way.


The future of solidarity


Scholz asserted that "we must offer a safe home to those in need of protection" and added that "Europe needs an asylum policy focused on solidarity and immune to crises."


The chancellor referred to the work on the Commission's 2020 proposal for a New Pact on Asylum and Migration that was done under the French Presidency of the EU Council in the first part of the year, where officials decided to take a "step-by-step" approach.


To relieve strain on member states hosting the biggest number of asylum seekers, 18 member states voluntarily joined a solidarity mechanism in June. The voluntary solidarity mechanism includes relocations, monetary contributions, and support.


Nevertheless, the system has drawn criticism. According to Stephanie Pope of Oxfam, "apart from being temporary and voluntary, the proposal allows EU countries to cherry-pick their asylum-seekers [...] it allows EU countries to continue to shirk their responsibility towards refugees and leave countries at the EU's borders to manage Europe's refugee response."


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