|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.14, 5.4.01, p8|
JUSTICE Commissioner António Vitorino admits that promises by EU leaders to set up asylum and migration rules by 2003 are unlikely to be met.
He blames member states' reluctance to give up control of immigration policies for the difficulties in achieving a key aim of 1999 Tampere summit.
"The member states recognise at the theoretical level what needs to be done but in practice they are very attached to their national traditions, their national laws and the powers of their national parliaments," he said. "It is quite likely that we are going to fall behind the original schedule."
Speaking to a meeting of his fellow socialists, held in the European Parliament, the Commissioner said the legal framework for making laws was also slowing down agreement on the new rules.
Under the Amsterdam Treaty, legislation in the justice field can be tabled by the member states as well as under the normal procedure by the European Commission.
Vitorino said this has meant there is a glut of legislative proposals which needs to be considered at the same time.
The proposals tabled by EU governments were often "impractical" and skewed towards addressing their own domestic political problems rather than putting in place a comprehensive European body of law.
"The difficulty we are having in defining a systematic approach makes the whole exercise very difficult from a practical point of view," he said.
In order to push through the immigration measures that member states signed up to at Tampere, Vitorino insists they must bite the bullet on some of the most difficult issues - for example, insisting they adopt a more positive attitude towards asylum seekers.
"In European countries we don't have a very strong tradition on integrating refugees; there's a cultural revolution that needs to take place," he said.
He also urged member states to accept the need for a sensible policy of legalised immigration, although he said that bringing in foreigners should not be seen as a universal cure for the problems created by Europe's ageing population.
"Immigration is not a general solution to the major social problems but we must recognise that there is a demand for workers that is not being met by the national labour market," he said.
Justice Commissioner António Vitorino admits that promises by EU leaders to set up asylum and migration rules by 2003 are unlikely to be met.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|