United in Diversity - EU Legal Framework on Immigration Policies

Agata Barbara Capik

The European Commission highlighted recently that "human mobility will be an inherent feature of the 21st century for Europe". This feature has, however, envisaged different faces: whilst approaching it, the continent seems to once again be divided between East and West. Consequently, action(s) to be undertaken towards an efficient European migration policy, enabling the EU to countervail the tensions among Member States on the one hand and, thus, to strengthen integration on the other hand, call necessarily for further consideration. Immigration and integration policies belong to the shared competence between the EU and its Member States since the Treaty of Amsterdam entered into force. Nonetheless, the extent to which the EU legislator has indeed acted within these fields remains rather limited, particularly due to the vivid discrepancies among the Member States. Consequently, the harmonization of standards for integration of third country nationals has mainly remained at the level of soft-policy instruments. Additionally, even if the EU institutions put forward the legal framework setting up the standards, inter alia, for integration and family reunification of the third country nationals, the implementation of the EU directives by the Member States has been to a great extent insufficient. Consequently, the legislative frameworks vary from one Member State to the other, providing for contradictions rather than for integration. Having said this, this contribution aims to develop suggestions towards a comprehensive and efficient migration policy across the EU. It touches upon the analyses of the institutional frameworks within which integration policies are developed, their potential efficiency, shortcomings and legal limitation in the implementation processes. To this end, it captures the activity of the usual 'motor of integration' - the Court of Justice of the European Union - drawing the attention to its significant role in setting up the standards of integration of third country nationals.

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