A renewed European agenda on migration
In 2015, an unprecedented number of persons entered the EU irregularly; fleeing conflict, seeking protection, or looking for better opportunities. Since 2015, much has been done to bring flows of irregular migration under control. A lot has been achieved by the Juncker Commission in developing a common European Agenda on Migration and its implementation. The EU increased support to host countries receiving large numbers of refugees and IDPs and invested substantially in addressing root causes that could lead to irregular migration. In addition, important steps were made in the global fight against human trafficking and smuggling. In 2018, the number of detected irregular arrivals decreased by 92% compared to 2015. The number of first asylum applications in the EU has also decreased by 53% in three years’ time. Nevertheless, a lot still needs to be done especially as secondary migration continues to persist. The common European as well as our national asylum and return systems are still not crisis-proof, with no perspective for a speedy conclusion of the intended reform. Migration pressure is persisting and will increase in all future scenario’s. In the Netherlands as well as in other parts of Europe, asylum and migration continue to be topics of great concern for citizens, often leading to highly divisive debates. With a negative spill-over to dialogues with third countries. We clearly need to step up our efforts to improve the management of irregular migration into and within the EU.