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ZEI Monitor: EU Progress 2019-2024



ZEI follows policy progress in the ten areas which have priority for EU institutions over the period 2019-2024:


Commission Priority 5: Promoting our European Way of Life


Policy Areas

  • Security Union

  • Judicial cooperation

  • Fundamental rights

  • Consumer Protection

  • Migration


European Commission Work Programs:

Please click on the respective policy objective to learn more. 


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Health Union & Fighting the COVID-19-Pandemic

  • EU4Health Programme: On the 26th of March 2021, Regulation (EU) 2021/522 establishing a Programme for the Union’s action in the field of health (‘EU4Health Programme’) for the period of the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 entered into force. It is based on the European Commission's Regulation Proposal from the 28th of May 2020. 

    Budget: The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme for the period 2021 - 2027 shall be 2.446 billion euro in current prices. This amount shall be increased by an additional allocation of 2.9 billion euro in 2018 prices as specified by the Programme-specific adjustment in the Multiannual Financial Framework Regulation (Art. 5 of Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2093).

    Objectives: The distribution of these amounts shall comply with the following goals:

1. a minimum of 20 per cent of the amounts shall be reserved for health promotion and disease prevention actions;

2. a maximum of 12,5 per cent of the amounts shall be reserved for procurement complementing national stockpiling of essential crisis-relevant products at Union level;

3. a  maximum of 12,5 per cent of the amounts shall be reserved for supporting global commitments and health initiatives;

4. a maximum of 8 per cent of the amounts shall be reserved for covering administrative expenses  

Joint policy implementation: Furthermore, it establishes an "EU4Health Steering Group" work towards ensuring that there is consistency and complementarity between the member states’ health policies as well as between the Programme and other policies, instruments and actions of the Union. The members of the EU4Health Steering Group shall be the Commission and the member states. Each member state shall appoint one member and one alternate member to the EU4Health Steering Group. The Commission shall provide the secretariat of the EU4Health Steering Group.

Aim: A digital green certificate should make it possible again for EU citizens to facilitate the exercise of their right to free movement during the Covid-19 pandemic. The digital green certificate will serve as a European interoperable credential with information on the holder's vaccination, testing and/or recovery status. The certificate shall be free of charge and can be re-applied for as soon as the status changes.

3 Types of certificates are planned to be issued:

a.    Vaccination certificate
b.    Test certificate
c.    Certificate of recovery from COVID-19 disease

Member states should be able to issue the certificate both digitally and physically. The Commission intends to use an access portal to assist member states in developing a software to verify the certificates.

Elements: The digital green certificate shall contain the following:
-    Barcode/QR code to verify the security and authenticity of the certificate.
-    Information for identification of the owner
-    Information about certificate issuer

Timeframe: Due to the current COVID-19 situation, an urgent procedure is to be implemented. Thus, the Regulation shall enter into force on the third day after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Regulation shall only apply during the period of the health emergency issued by WHO.

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European biomedical research and development

  • Proposal to establish a new European biomedical research and development agency (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Q4 2021)

Measuring EU progress Monitoring Juncker work plan ampel rot

European health data space

  • European health data space (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Articles 114 and 168 TFEU, Q4 2021)

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Follow-up initiatives under the new pact on migration and asylum

  • a) A new EU action plan against migrant smuggling (non-legislative, Q2 2021)
  • b) A new strategy on voluntary returns and reintegration (non-legislative, Q2 2021)

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Schengen package

  • a) Strategy on the future of Schengen (non-legislative, Q2 2021)
  • b) Amendment of the Regulation establishing the Schengen Evaluation Mechanism (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 70 TFEU, Q2 2021)
  • c) Revision of the Schengen Borders Code (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 77 TFEU, Q2 2021)
  • d) Digitalisation of visa procedures (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Art. 77 TFEU, Q4 2021)

Measuring EU progress Monitoring Juncker work plan ampel rot

Follow-up to the EU security strategy

  • a) Communication on an EU Agenda to tackle organised crime (2021-2025)(non-legislative, Q1 2021)
  • b) Legislation to effectivelytackle child sexual abuse online (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 114 TFEU, Q2 2021)
  • c) An EU agenda on counter-terrorism: prevent, protect, respond, anticipate(non-legislative, Q3 2021)
  • d) Revision of the Directive on the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Articles 82 and 83 TFEU, Q4 2021)
  • e) Proposal to modernise existing intra-EU law enforcement cooperation by creating an EU police cooperation code (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Q4 2021)
  • f) Proposal for a Directive on Asset Recovery Offices (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 87 TFEU, Q4 2021)

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Follow-up to the European Education Area and the updated skills agenda

  • a) European approach for micro-credentials (non-legislative, Q4 2021)
  • b) Individual learning accounts (legislative and non-legislative, incl. impact assessment, Q4 2021)

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EU strategy on combating antisemitism

  • Communication on the EU strategy on combating antisemitism (non-legislative, Q4 2021)


2020 (revised after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic)

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Protecting Health: Fighting the COVID-19-Pandemic

  • Creation of a European Health Union: On the 11th of November 2020, the European Commission presented a Communication and three legislative proposals (see below) to strengthen the EU’s health security framework and European medical and scientific institutions. (Press release)

1. To create a more robust mandate for coordination, the Commission presented a Proposal for a Regulation on serious cross-border health threats. The focus is on better prevention, stronger surveillance, better data transfer and the declaration of an EU emergency.
2. The Commission also issued a further Proposal for a Regulation on a reinforced role for the European Medicines Agency in crisis preparedness and management for medicinal products and medical devices.
3. Furthermore, the Commission put forward Proposal for a Regulation to establish a European Centre for disease prevention and control.

In the Commission’s view, a “European health union” has a number of advantages:
a. Better health protection for citizens
b. Equip the EU and its member states to better prevent and address future pandemics
c. Improve the resilience of Europe’s health systems
Therefore, the Commission draws lessons from the coronavirus pandemic and focuses on close coordination between European countries to improve prevention, treatment and aftercare for diseases.

  • I. Borders and mobility: Corona traffic lights for the Schengen Zone
    - On the 13th of October 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted a Recommendation for a coordinated approach to restrictions of free movement (soon to be published) due to the Covid-19 pandemic based upon a
    Proposal of the European Commission from the 4th of September 2020.
    - Contents: A uniform color code (so-called corona "traffic light") indicates increased risks from Corona in the individual European areas. The traffic light should thus serve as a guideline and help the member states classify risk areas.
    - The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) publishes the traffic light online and updates it weekly. The member states will be divided into green, orange, red or grey levels, based on common criteria.

  • II. Measures to produce, secure and promote a vaccine:

- On the 15th of October 2020, the Commission issued a Communication in which it lists further important steps for an effective vaccination strategy and presented distribution measures for the provision of the vaccine to priority groups. The member states shall consider the presented key elements in their respective Covid-19 vaccination strategies. (Press release)
- On the 17th of June 2020, the EU presented its
Vaccine Strategy to accelerate the development and distribution of vaccines against Covid-19. (Press release)

The Vaccine Strategy is based on two pillars:

1. The production of vaccines in the EU and a sufficient supply for the member states shall be ensured. This mainly will be achieved through purchase guarantees for vaccine manufacturers.

2. The EU legal framework should be adapted to the current urgency. This is intended to accelerate the development, approval and availability of vaccines while maintaining quality, efficacy and safety standards.

  • Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (non-legislative, Q4 2020)

  • A Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe (non-legislative, Q4 2020)

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Fostering Skills, Education and Inclusion

A Pact for Skills
Strengthening skills intelligence
EU support for strategic national upskilling action
Proposal for a Council Recommendation on Vocational Education and Training for sustainable competiveness, social fairness and resilience
Rolling out the European universities initiative and upskilling scientists
Skills to support the green and digital transitions
Increasing STEM graduates and fostering entrepreneurial and transversal skills
Skills for Life
Initiative on Individual Learning Accounts
A European approach to micro-credentials
New Europass Platform
Improving the enabling framework to unlock member states' and private investments in skills

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A New Pact on Migration and Asylum

On the 23rd of September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new migration and asylum pact, which includes five proposals for regulations. (Press release)

Goals: Establish the principle of confidence-building among member states by sharing responsibility

The Pact entails Five Regulation Proposals:

1. New Proposal for a Screening Regulation:

Amendment of Regulation (EC) No 767/2008, (EU) 2017/2226, (EU) 2018, 1240 and (EU) 2019/817

Objective: Introduction of a check on third country nationalities at the external borders

Legal bases: Art. 77 II b TFEU, Art. 77 II d TFEU


(a) General: Detailed examination of the nationalities of asylum and protection seekers at the EU external borders

(b) Objective of the screening: To strengthen the control of persons entering the Schengen area and to link them to the appropriate procedures

(c) Subject of the review: - Identification of all third-country nationals and thus the assurance in the relevant databases that the person does not represent a threat to European security; to identify the state of health of people through health checks in order to provide a person with medical assistance and identify threats to public health, - Reviews should help ensure that these persons are handed over to the appropriate procedure

(d) Participation of other member states: It should be possible to carry out screenings in all EU member states if there are indications that the third-country national was not checked at an EU external border

(e) During the verification, the person shall not enter the territory of a member state

2. Amended Proposal to revise the Asylum Procedures Regulation:

Repeal of Directive 2013/32/EU

Objective: To establish a common procedure for international protection in the Union

Legal bases: Art. 78 II d TFEU, Art. 79 II c TFEU


(a) Objective: Ensuring a smooth cooperation between member states

(b) Unified regulations for member states concerning border procedures; with regard to the procedure itself and uniform conditions of deportation; aim: Closing the gap between the issuing of a negative decision on an application for international protection and a return decision as well as to reduce the risk of absconding and the likelihood of unauthorized movements; thus to make procedures more efficient overall

c) Regulates unified rights of persons seeking protection, e.g. right of appeal, right to an effective legal remedy, right to a written issue of the asylum application decision

3. Amended Proposal for the Revision of the 'Eurodac' Regulation:

Amendment of Regulations (EU) 2018/1240 and (EU) 2019/818

Objective: Establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of biometric data for the effective application of Regulation (EU) XXX/XXX (Asylum and Migration Management Regulation) and Regulation (EU) XXX/XXX (Resettlement Regulation) in order to identify illegally staying third country nationals or stateless persons and to make Eurodac data available for comparison, upon request, to member states' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes

Legal bases: Art. 78 II d, e, g TFEU, Art. 79 II c TFEU, Art. 87 II a TFEU, Art. 88 II a TFEU


(a) Objectives for which Eurodac is established and can be used

(b) the overall improvement of the IT system (Eurodac) supporting screening, asylum and return procedures

4. New Proposal for a Regulation on Asylum and Migration Management:

Amendment of Council Directive (EC) 2003/109 and the proposed Regulation (EU) XXX/XXX (Asylum and Migration Fund), the p
roposal would replace Regulation (EU) No 604/2013
Objective: Introduction of a new asylum and migration management system

Legal bases: Art. 78 II e TFEU, Art. 79 II c TFEU

- This extends the scope to create a common framework to contribute to a comprehensive approach to migration management; completely new regulation to be adopted


(a) Principle of solidarity and fairly distributed responsibility (strengthening of general trust)

(b) Regulation sets common framework for asylum and migration management in the Union (Part II)

(c) Solidarity mechanism is established (Part IV); - return sponsorships for the purpose of solidarity division of labor: countries willing to accept refugees, countries that do not want to accept refugees would then take care of the deportation.

(d) Establishes criteria and mechanisms for determining the responsibility of member states in examining an application for international protection (Part III); duties and discretionary powers in the MS procedure

5. New Proposal for a Regulation to deal with crisis situations and cases of force majeure:

Objective: Management of crisis situations and force majeure in the area of migration and asylum

Legal bases: Art. 78 II c, d, e TFEU, Art. 79 II c TFEU


(a) Commission proposal contains 14 articles and six chapters

(b) General: Exception for crisis situations in the field of asylum;
the Commission notes that a "national system is under pressure/threat" (on its own initiative or on request); the Commission then sets out what each member state must do to help in the crisis situation; Other member states are then obliged to contribute to their "fair share" (calculation methods)

- Return sponsorships also mentioned in the recitals here: If a country does not want to accept migrants from another EU country in crisis situations, it can take over the deportation of a certain number of people who are not entitled to protection

- Legal: Commission adopts implementing act to validate contributions and make them legally binding

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Fostering Europe's Security

  • On the 24th of July 2020, the European Commission proposed an EU Security Union Strategy in which it announces new EU rules on the protection and resilience of critical infrastructure, physical and digital as well as an Agenda for tackling organized crime, including trafficking in human beings for next year. (Press release)

The planned legislative measures include (1.) a strengthening of the mandate of Europol (Art. 88 TFEU, 4th quarter 2020) and (2.) a proposal for additional measures to protect critical infrastructure (4th quarter 2020).


ZEI Studies on Asylum and Migration Policy

  • Liska Wittenberg: The Juncker Commission: "Towards a New Policy on Migration", in: Robert Stüwe / Thomas Panayotopoulos (eds.): The Juncker Commission. Politicizing EU Policies (Schriften des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Vol. 79), Nomos, Baden-Baden 2020, p. 169-181.
  • Liska Wittenberg: A European Way of Life?!, in: Robert Stüwe / Liska Wittenberg (Hrsg.): ZEI Future of Europe Observer, Von der Leyen: Europe’s New Deal Despite Corona?, Bd. 8 Nr. 1 April 2020, p. 12-13 (Download).
  • Robert Stüwe (ed.): ZEI-MEDAC Future of Europe Observer, Euro-Mediterranean Relations - From Illegal to Legal Migration?, September 2018, Bonn (Download)
  • Ludger Kühnhardt: Die Europäische Union und das Weltflüchtlingsproblem, in: Becker, Manuel / Kronenberg, Volker / Pompe, Hedwig (eds.): Fluchtpunkt Integration. Panorama eines Problemsfeldes, Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2018, p. 101-132. 
  • Ludger Kühnhardt: The Global Society and its Enemies. Liberal Order Beyond the Third World War, Springer International Publishing, Basel 2017.
  • Carla Manzanas: Movement, Security and Media (ZEI Discussion Paper C233), Bonn 2016 (Download).
  • Ina Hommers: Die Migrationspolitik der EU. Herausforderung zwischen nationaler Selbstbestimmung und europäischer Konvergenz (ZEI Discussion Paper C196) Bonn, 2009 (Download)
  • Marvin Andrew Cuschieri: Europe´s Migration Policy Towards the Mediterranean. The Need of Reconstruction of Policy-Making (ZEI Discussion Paper C 168), Bonn 2007. (Download)

ZEI Insights Policy Brief Series (2014-2019)


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