Amsterdam Proposals: 2000-2003

Summary

Influencing legislation on immigration and asylum through the EC Treaty and EU legislation

Description

In 2000, MPG launched, together with the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA), six legislative proposals in the areas of immigration and asylum, based on the new Title IV of the EC Treaty.

The proposals were called the ‘ILPA/ MPG Amsterdam Proposals’, a clear reference to the Amsterdam Treaty that gave the institutions powers to act on immigration and asylum.  The proposals covered the areas of asylum, family reunion, long-term resident third-country nationals, border controls, irregular immigration and primary immigration.  They provided a comprehensive framework for European immigration and asylum law reflecting the views and expertise of non-governmental actors in the Member States.

As an initiative to influence legislation on immigration and asylum in the development of Community law, the Amsterdam Proposals had a significant and demonstrable impact on the drafting of the official legislative proposals proposed by the European Commission and set high human rights standards for future Community immigration law.

MPG presented the Amsterdam Proposals to the relevant European institutions and non-governmental organisations and held national seminars in each EU Member State in cooperation with national partners, ensuring the Proposals had maximum impact with NGOs, academics, politicians and government officials.  This exposure led to invitations to provide input to further proposals and conferences including the following:

  • Invitation by the European Commission to comment on a proposal for a Directive on Family Reunion; a policy paper on the revision of the Dublin Convention; the Commission’s Communication on Asylum; the Commission’s Communication on Immigration; and the proposal for a Directive on Long-Term Residence
  • Request to make the Amsterdam Proposals available to the two official working groups of the Council of Ministers dealing with immigration and asylum, and to the missions to the EU of all Member States
  • Request from the Portuguese EU Presidency to attend the Ministers Conference on future EU policies on asylum (Lisbon, 15-16 June 2000) and to distribute the Amsterdam Proposals at the Conference
  • Invitation to speak at the European Parliament’s hearing on anti-discrimination and third-country nationals in Brussels on 23-24 May 2000
  • Invitation to speak at the French EU Presidency Conference on Residence Rights in Paris on 5-6 October 2000
  • Invitation to speak at the European Preparatory Conference for the World Conference against Racism in Strasbourg in October 2000

The Amsterdam proposals were discussed regularly with the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and the EU’s Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC), when drafting reports and legislative proposals in the migration field.

Both officials and non-governmental actors used the Amsterdam Proposals as a reference document.  The seminars and conferences stimulated a well-informed policy debate engaging a wide variety of stakeholders in the debates at the EU and national levels.

In addition to the proposed legal standards, MPG identified the need for a series of principles for European immigration policies leading to the publication of ‘The Management and Managers of Immigration’ published in late 2000.  A draft of this paper was discussed by experts from a number of Member States, the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

Another paper, ‘Borders and Discrimination,’ published together with ILPA in 2002, addressed the issue of discrimination on the grounds of nationality and ethnicity in matters related to immigration and mobility.  The paper made the case for the EU’s visa and border laws not overstepping the boundary between permitted distinction on the basis of nationality and illegal racial and religious discrimination. 

The Amsterdam Proposals were among the sources used as a foundation to create the analytical framework for the Migrant Integration Policy Index.