Migration and Asylum are the key topics up for debate at the Committee of the Regions' (CoR) Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX) to be held in Brussels on Friday 27 April. CIVEX members will also discuss proposals from the European Commission concerning financing in the area of home affairs, justice and citizenship for the period 2014-2020.
Nichi Vendola (IT/PES), President of the Puglia Region, will present his draft opinion on a Global Approach to Migration and Mobility in which he stresses that regional and local authorities are key actors in this area as both promoters and implementers of social and employment policies, reception and integration policies. He further proposes a careful assessment of all the causes of migration, in particular climate change.
Theodoros Gkotsopoulos (EL/PES), Municipal Counsellor of Pallini, Attica, will present his draft opinion on the Commission's Communication on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum. The asylum systems of a number of Member States are currently under strain, especially following the events of the "Arab Spring". Solidarity and a fair sharing of responsibility are key to a whole range of European policies which, in the context of freedom, security and justice, cover the management of external borders, asylum and immigration. The need to achieve genuine solidarity in EU asylum policy intensifies the debate on the conclusion of the Common European Asylum System, which should happen by the end of 2012 according to the Stockholm Programme. The CoR draft opinion stresses that local and regional authorities have a role to play in the reception of seekers of international protection and refugees, and thus should actively be involved in the design and implementation of asylum policy.
Members of the CIVEX commission will also discuss and vote upon the draft opinions on the EU financial instruments in Home Affairs (rapporteur Samuel Azzopardi (MT/EPP)) and in the fields of Justice and Citizenship (rapporteur Giuseppe Varacalli (IT/ALDE)). The draft opinions highlight the role of cities and regions in building an area of Justice, Freedom and Security and recommends that the CoR be further involved in the programming phase from 2014 onwards. The CoR is currently actively gearing up for the 2013 European Year of Citizens with the aim of facilitating the use of citizens' rights.
Other items on the commission's agenda include a first discussion on the New Approach to financing EU external action (rapporteur Lotta Håkansson Harju (SV/PES)).
Please see the meeting agenda for further details.
The Committee of the Regions' CIVEX commission:
The CoR CIVEX commission is responsible for issues including justice and home affairs, fundamental rights, smart regulation and the reduction of administrative burdens, citizenship and broader institutional issues such as governance and devolution. It also deals with the EU external dimension, focusing on neighbourhood and enlargement countries, and decentralised cooperation for development. It gathers 109 regional and local politicians from the 27 EU Member States and is chaired by Luc Van den Brande (BE/EPP), Chairman of the Flemish-European Liaison Agency.