In its December plenary session, the European Committee of the Regions gave broad political backing to the European Commission’s European Agenda for Migration. The crucial role of Europe’s local and regional authorities in addressing the immediate and long-term challenges posed by the arrival of large numbers of refugees and migrants needs to be more fully reflected in European Union policies, stressed the Committee of the Regions’ rapporteur, François Decoster (FR/ALDE).

He further commented: “Inevitably, we have had long, sometimes heated debates in the CoR about what policies the EU’s institutions should pursue. But the process has also produced a very clear political consensus that the EU needs to be more involved in managing and responding to migration, and that we must establish a robust migration system that is fair to all. Across Europe, local and regional governments are given too little political say, too little funding and too little backing. That must change.”

In his opinion, Mr Decoster called for reinforced management of Europe’s borders and backed plans to review the EU’s existing system of reviewing asylum applications, the ‘Dublin regulation’. The CoR plenary also voted in favour of a permanent relocation mechanism so that newly arrived refugees are resettled across the EU.