Implementing the Stockholm Programme: priorities for the Commissioner for Home Affairs

22 June 2010

Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said the newly-adopted Stockholm Programme puts citizens' concerns “at the heart of the action”, and aims to safeguard citizens’ fundamental rights so they can live in an open, safe and secure Europe.

Migration is one of the Stockholm Programme’s key tasks, with a top priority to consolidate “a genuine common immigration and asylum policy”, based on the needs of national labour markets, and which respects Member States’ competences in the field and also respects human rights.

Europe aims to have a Common European Asylum System in place by 2012, with a European Asylum Support Office and measures to develop migration’s external dimension. There will be measures to provide incentives and support for Member States which integrate third-country nationals living legally in their countries.

The other aspect of the home affairs’ portfolio is to maintain security for all European citizens, and the Commission proposes to revise legislation against trafficking human beings and to take action to combat child sexual abuse and exploitation. A European Anti-Trafficking Coordinator is also being appointed to coordinate Member States’ efforts.

This autumn the Commission will embark on an internal security strategy, and there are five areas where Europe can add value: combating serious and organised crime within the EU; preventing crime entering the EU; stopping terrorist attacks, including an assessment of the EU Counter Terrorism Strategy; effective crisis management to deal with disasters and equip the Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre as an operational crisis centre; and combating cyber crime: at present funds lost through illicit activity over the Internet amount to 1% of global GDP.

Another concern among European citizens is the amount of data that is shared between public authorities, so the Commission will ensure data protection legislation is consistently applied.

The Lisbon Treaty has given the Parliament the role of co-legislator in most areas and the national parliaments will also have a greater say. This will make the EU more accountable, provided all Member States work together to make this happen.