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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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European care strategy

European care strategy - Communication on a European care strategy, accompanied by the revision of the Barcelona targets and a proposal for a Council Recommendation on long-term care (non-legislative, Q3 2022)

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Advance passenger information

Obligation of carriers to communicate advance passenger information (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Q2 2022)

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Reciprocal access to security-related information

Framework for reciprocal access to security-related information for front-line officers between the EU and key third countries to counter shared security threats (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Q4 2022)

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Cancer screening

Update of Recommendation on cancer screening (non-legislative, Q3 2022)

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Education package

a) European strategy for universities (non-legislative, Q1 2022)

b) Building bridges for effective European higher education cooperation (non-legislative, Q1 2022)


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Digital COVID-Certificate, Health Union & Measures to fight the COVID-19-pandemic

  • Digital COVID-Certificate: On the 15th of June 2021, the Regulation on the EU Digital COVID Certificate for the issuance, verification and acceptance of interoperable COVID-19 vaccination, test and recovery certificates went into force. Prior to this on the 21st of May 2021, the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement. (Press release) This happened within three months by means of an expedited ordinary legislative procedure after the Commission had issued its draft regulation in March (working title: "Digital Green Certificate", see ZEI Monitor March 17, 2021). 

Aim: The COVID certificate should enable EU citizens to exercise their right to free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic. The certificate shall be valid throughout Europe as a uniform attestation of the vaccination, testing and/or recovery status of the holder. The three forms of certificates must be free of charge and accessible to all EU citizens, therefore the certificates will be provided both digitally or as a hard copy printout upon request.

Changes made by the Council and the Parliament: The certificate is not intended to serve as a travel document and restrict the exercise of free movement rights within the EU. However, the governments of the member states have the final right to decide whether travelers with a certificate should be quarantined or tested. A corresponding public-key infrastructure, including generated QR codes, is intended to make technical systems compatible within the EU and create a "trust framework" that ensures the integrity and authenticity of certificates. In this way, the national certificates can be read anywhere in the EU - similar to a barcode for airline or train tickets.

The vaccination certificate shall contain information on the identification of the holder, on the vaccine administered and the number of doses administered, as well as certificate metadata, such as about the certificate issuer or a unique certificate identifier. Approved vaccines are those that have been temporarily authorized on the basis of Article 5(2) of Directive 2001/83/EC or have undergone the procedure for entry on the WHO emergency list. Vaccination certificates may be issued by member countries upon presentation of a vaccination certificate issued in a third country. However, they are not required to do so if the vaccine is not licensed in their country.

The test certificate shall also contain information about the identification of the holder, the test performed, and also metadata to secure the certificate.

The recovery certificate should include information about the holder and the certificate metadata, as well as information about previous SARS-CoV-2 infections following a positive test (also applies to rapid test). The recovery certificate should be issued no earlier than eleven days after a positive test and should be valid for a maximum of 180 days.

Third country nationals who are legally present or legally resident in the territory of a member state during the COVID-19 pandemic are considered in the same way as EU citizens in the Regulation. More rules on third-country nationals legally staying or residing in the territories of sember states during the COVID-19 pandemic are set out in the Regulation 2021/954.

Implementation: After the official adoption of the proposed Regulation, it is expected to enter into force on 1st of July 2021 (on the day of publication in the Official Journal of the European Union). The Regulation is to apply for a period of 12 months from the date of entry into force. A six-week phase-in period is intended to make it easier for member states to comply with the requirements of the Regulation. Until then, it is possible for member states to issue certificates that are not yet in compliance with this Regulation. Four months after the date of application, the Commission should submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council. No later than three months before the end of the application, the Commission should publish a second report on the lessons learned from the application, including its impact on the facilitation of free movement and data protection, taking into account the evolution of the epidemiological situation of the 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)

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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) On the 29th of September 2021, the EU Commission published a Communication  about a renewed EU action plan against migrant smuggling (Press release).

    The rise of migrant smuggling, particularly the instrumentalisation of migration for political purposes, demands a new strategy from the EU as well as the member states in order to protect EU’s external borders, reduce human trafficking, and protect the fundamental rights of the people concerned.

    Objective: With the 2021-2025 Action Plan, the Commission aims to build on the successes of the first EU Action Plan (2015-2020) in order to obstruct current smuggling strategies. In addition to the transition of smuggling networks from ‘low risk, high return’ into ‘high risk, low return’ that was established by the first action plan, better regulations of migration are required. Several priorities were presented by the Commission for tackling migrant smuggling, these include: reinforced cooperation with partner countries and international organisations, implementing the legal frameworks and sanctioning smugglers active within and outside the EU, preventing exploitation and ensuring the protection of migrants, reinforcing cooperation and supporting the work of law enforcement and the judiciary to respond to new challenges, and improving the knowledge on smugglers’ modi operandi.

    Subject Matter: Operational partnerships with third countries along migratory routes and international organisations such as UNODC and Interpol will be shaped through operational, legal, diplomatic and financial tools. This will enable the Commission to better enforce the Anti-trafficking Directive and the Residence Permit Directive. After the report on the implementation of the Facilitators package in 2023, further action will be considered. In the first half of 2022, the Commission plans to propose a complete digitalisation of the visa procedure jointly with finalising the negotiations on the Screening Regulation and adopting the Eurodac Regulation as a matter of priority. Additionally, it calls on Frontex to further reinforce its capacity to monitor designated maritime areas and identify suspicious vessels, and in cooperation with Europol and Eurojust, to further support partner countries to identify digital smuggling. Ultimately, the development of new technologies, including that of artificial intelligence, and regular reports on migrant smuggling by Frontex and Europol, can help deter human trafficking.

  • b) On the 27th of April 2021 the EU Commission published a Communication  regarding an EU Strategy on voluntarily return and reintegration (Press release) .

    Problem: Being part of the European Commission's New Pact on Migration and Asylum, a common EU approach for returns is an essential component of a comprehensive and integrated migration management system. Considering however that only about a third of the people ordered to leave the EU effectively do so, the Commission is committed to implement a new strategy to enforce the return and reintegration of migrants.

    Objective: The Communication advocates for the voluntary return of migrants as well as improved and effective reintegration measures in the countries of return. A humane, effective and sustainable return of irregular migrants is key to promoting trust in the system, making it more credible and efficient. Through a common and ambitious reintegration policy, the EU intents to help overcome the socio-economic and psychosocial difficulties migrants face when returning to their community, thus making their return more sustainable. Future prospects for the returnee and their local community will be fostered by reinforcing the cooperation between national and local authorities, host communities and the civil society. Reintegration can in turn lead to new partnerships and promote more comprehensive development strategies in partner countries. The Commission aims to assist the member states to a more consistent and coordinated approach, fully exploiting the potential of voluntary return and reintegration as well as establishing closer links with development initiatives and national strategies in partner countries. Overall, the strategy aspires to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of the common EU return system for the benefit of returnees, the EU and partner countries.

    Subject Matter: In order to implement this strategy, the Commission, in cooperation with the Council and the European Parliament, will work on concluding negotiations on the various elements of the new package including but not limited to the Eurodac Regulation. The commission requires Frontex to carry out more return operations and to take over the activities of the European Return and Reintegration Network by mid-2022. It further recommends a cooperation between member states and Frontex in the areas of voluntary return and the first steps towards reintegration. The close partnership between the Commission and the High Representative in the partner countries concerned is intended to ensure coordination between all participants. The Return Coordinator and the High Level Network for Return shall be responsible for ensuring that member states' actions in the field of voluntary return and reintegration are coherent and coordinated. Moreover, with the support of Frontex information tools at EU level, such as the List of Return and Reintegration Assistance Inventory, should be optimized. To foster ownership of reintegration by partner countries, the Commission, together with all stakeholders, will collaborate with authorities and local communities of those countries in planning and implementing reintegration programmes. The Commission will support the strengthening of third countries’ capacity to provide voluntary return and reintegration services. Finally, the Commission will further support research on voluntary return and take into account the objectives of this strategy in member states' multiannual programmes under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

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Schengen package

a) On the 2nd of July 2021 the EU Commission published a Communication  regarding a strategy towards a fully functioning and resilient Schengen area (Press Release).

Problem: A series of crises and challenges in the last decade, including the 2015 "refugee crisis" and the persistent terrorist threat on European soil, have led to internal border controls being reintroduced in a number of member states, undermining the core idea of the Schengen area. Furthermore, faced with the Covid pandemic, more member states were prompted to reintroduce internal border controls, jeopardising the proper functioning of the Single Market. Given that the Schengen area is one of the biggest achievements of European integration and has a fundamental role in the European Union’s construction, the Commission developed a strategy optimizing the functioning of the Schengen area.

Objective: The Commission aims to strengthen the three key pillars of the Schengen area, i.e. effective external border management, measures to compensate for the absence of controls at internal borders and robust governance, for new challenges ahead. Accordingly, new measures are needed to protect the integrity of the Schengen area and further improve its functioning. In order to guarantee freedom, security and justice, the EU is required to take effective action particularly in the areas of security, police and judicial cooperation as well as migration. Through the operational cooperation and information exchange between police and judicial authorities in criminal matters as well as measures in the fields of visa and return policy, the effective exercise of the fundamental freedoms within the European Union will be ensured. Additionally, increased political dialogue, better monitoring, enforcement of the Schengen legal framework and a strong governance system equipped to deal with future Schengen-wide challenges, can compensate for the absence of controls at internal borders as well as foster trust between member states.

Subject matter: The Commission will present several proposals for regulations in the areas of border management and visa procedures in the period of 2021 and 2023. A guidance on the systematic checks against relevant databases at entry and exit of the Schengen area, as well as model provisions on the exchange of information on situational awareness to be used in bilateral and multilateral agreements with third countries, will also be provided. Other proposals, such as the legislative proposal for an EU Police Cooperation Code, have also been planned. In the light of global digitalisation, the use of technologies as alternative to border controls is to be examined and the Handbook on the European Arrest Warrant is to be modernised. Moreover, the Commission will present a proposal for a Regulation to revise the Schengen Evaluation and Monitoring Mechanism. Organising Schengen Forums and annual "State of Schengen Reports", the Commission will evaluate previous activities and possibly optimise them with new measures. By presenting a Communication on the lessons learned from the Covid pandemic, the EU will be able to codify new guidelines and recommendations in the Practical Handbook for Border Guards. The proposal for a regulation amending the Schengen Borders Code and the establishment of an emergency plan for better crisis management are also foreseen.


Aim: On the 2nd of June 2021, the European Commission proposed a Council Regulation to revise the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism. The mechanism is intended to eliminate deficiencies and shortcomings that threaten the integrity of the common Schengen area. The chief goal is to ensure that member states effectively apply the Schengen acquis in order to contribute to a functioning Schengen area without internal border controls.

Implementation: In order to assess and evaluate each member state, the Regulation aims to introduce a multi-annual evaluation program and an annual evaluation program.

The multi-annual evaluation program covers seven years, during which each member state is subject to a regular evaluation and at least one unannounced evaluation or thematic evaluation. ‘Thematic evaluation’ means an evaluation aimed at providing a comparative analysis of member states’ legislation or practices, or the application of specific parts of the Schengen acquis across several member states.

The annual evaluation program, on the other hand, is particularly based on risk analysis. To implement the evaluation programs, cooperation with Europol and Frontex and independent organizations (NGOs) is to be strengthened. Therefore, Frontex is to submit a risk analysis by 31 August each year. For the implementation of the assessment programs, the Commission, in cooperation with the member states, will set up each year a team composed of experts and representatives of the Commission. After each analysis, the team prepares an evaluation report on the member state concerned. The evaluation report analyzes the qualitative, quantitative, operational as well as administrative aspects and will list the shortcomings in order to give recommend best practices.

Timeframe: The first multiannual evaluation program under this Regulation shall be prepared by 1st November 2022 and shall be implemented from the 1st January 2023 onwards.

  • C) Revision of the Schengen Borders Code (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 77 TFEU, Q4 2021)
  • D) Digitalisation of visa procedures (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Art. 77 TFEU, Q4 2021)

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Follow-up to the EU security strategy

a) On the 14th of April 2021 the EU Commission published a Communication  regarding an EU Strategy to tackle Organised Crime (Press release).

Problem: Due to its complex nature, organised crime poses a significant threat to European citizens, business, state institutions, and to the economy. Although national measures currently applied by the member states are crucial to combat crime, a common Union strategy can better address the challenges of organised crime given that it is operating cross-border and online, across all areas of crime in a networked environment, using the newest technologies, and threatening EU’s security as a whole.

Objective: By promoting cooperation between law enforcement and judicial authorities within the member states, the exchange and timely access of information needs to be facilitated. Multidisciplinary and multiagency operational cooperation globally, particularly in areas with no internal border controls such as freedom, security and justice, should contribute to the dismantling of global criminal networks as well as their transport routes. The Communication highlights the need to tackle organised crime structures, thus not only investigate low level criminals, but also weaken the entire network or rather 'the criminal ecosystem'. Reinforcing asset recovery measures is necessary in order to prevent money laundering, the promotion of financial investigations and the penetration of profits from organised crime into the economy and society. In light of the current digitization trend, the EU plans on upgrading its law enforcement and justice departments with new technologies.

Subject Matter: The Commission will initiate four new proposals, including the launch of a platform for cooperation between Joint Investigation Teams. The cooperation with various stakeholders to optimise the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) and new measures to combat international crime are meant to be generatred between 2021 and 2025. The financial resources needed to combat organized crime are to be increased through the Internal Security Fund for the period 2021-2027. In 2022, an EU anti-counterfeiting toolkit will be established setting out principles for joint action, cooperation and data sharing among law enforcement authorities, right holders and intermediaries. In the same year, a further action plan against trafficking of cultural goods will be encouraged. Through the revision of Confiscation Directive and the Council Decision on Asset Recovery Offices as well as the assessment of existing EU anti-corruption rules, the Commission intends to strengthen its crime prevention network. Additionally, the EU is determined to cooperate and exchange information on the link between corruption and organised crime including through Europol. By cooperating with member states new measures will be evaluated to address lawful and targeted access by law enforcement authorities to encrypted information in the context of criminal investigations. Similarly, the involvement of member states in the Digital Exchange of Electronic Evidence (e-EDES) system will optimise the fight against crime, particularly on the ‘Darknet’, thus it is essential for the EU to develop a common surveillance tool.

  • b) Communication for an EU Strategy on combatting trafficking in Human Beings. (non-legislative, 14th of April 2021); (Press release) The non-legislative paper, originally scheduled for publication in the fourth quarter of 2020, originates from the previous year's work program of the von der Leyen Commission. It aims to increase the efficiency of preventing trafficking in human beings, to hold smugglers accountable and to support the victims. Trafficking in human beings is a particularly serious form of organized crime and therefore this strategy is closely interlinked with the EU Strategy to Tackle Organised Crime 2021-2025.
    1. Comprehensive response to combatting trafficking in human beings – from prevention through protection of victims to prosecution and conviction of traffickers: When it comes to prosecuting human trafficking, it is important to ensure cross-border, regional and international cooperation, including by developing and sharing knowledge and information, as well through interoperability of information systems. Therefore, the Commission will support the Member States in implementing of the Anti-trafficking Directive and ensure its effective implementation through an evaluation study.
    2. Reducing demand that fosters trafficking: Especially businesses and employers take in an important role in reducing the demand for trafficking of human beings for labour exploitation. On this account the Commission want to organise awareness raising campaigns together with Member States and civil society. Furthermore the Commission wants to provide guidance on forced labour due diligence, put forward a legislative proposal on sustainable corporate governance, assess how to strengthen the effectiveness of the Employers’ Sanctions Directive and examine the possibility of amending the anti-trafficking directive's provisions on criminalizing the use of exploited services by victims of trafficking.
    3. Breaking the criminal model to halt victims’ exploitation: To efficiently break the business model of smugglers, it is necessary for the Commission to have a stronger law enforcement. Therefore, the Commission aims to improve data recording and data collection on trafficking in human beings, create of a focus group of specialised prosecutors, enhance the coordination of law enforcement services in cross-border and international cases, promote operational projects under the Internal Security Fund and to implement a dialogue with relevant internet and technology companies to tackle the digital business model.
    4. Protecting, supporting and empowering the victims with a specific focus on women and children: Early identification and protection of victims and to encourage Member States to work closer is crucial to effectively assist, support and protect victims. For that reason the Commission wants to enhance capacity building and sharing of best practices, facilitate re-integration and victim empowerment programmes, enable targeted funding support to specialised shelters for victims of trafficking and funding in non-EU partner countries to non-governmental organisations for supporting victims, enhance actions to improve victims’ support by setting up a European referral cooperation mechanism.
    5. International dimension: To strengthen the international cooperation the Commission wants to generally increase cooperation with non-EU countries by using the dedicated human rights and security dialogues and supports the European External Action Service. Moreover, the Commission aims to adopt an EU Action Plan against Migrant Smuggling (2021-2025).
    Implementation: The implementation of the Strategy will be carried out with the help of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, the Internal Security Fund, the Border Management and Visa Instrument and the Security Research Fund of the Horizon Europe Framework Program.
  • c) Legislation to effectivelytackle child sexual abuse online (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 114 TFEU, Q2 2021)
  • d) An EU agenda on counter-terrorism: prevent, protect, respond, anticipate(non-legislative, Q3 2021)
  • e) 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)
  • f) Proposal to modernise existing intra-EU law enforcement cooperation by creating an EU police cooperation code (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Q4 2021)
  • g) 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

On the 5th of October 2021 the EU Commission published a Communication regarding an EU Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life (Press release) .

Problem: The Jewish community in Europe has continuously become a victim of harassment and discrimination. In the past decade, there has been a rise in antisemitism within the Member States, leading to several instances of hate speech, hate crimes, attacks on Jewish people, their properties, and institutions. Given that core European values such as the rule of law and respect for human rights are being disregarded through antisemitism, the Commission developed a strategy combatting hateful crimes and discrimination against the Jews.

The Communication demands a new strategy in the timeframe of 2021-2030 for combating all forms of antisemitism including but not limited to antisemitic incitement, hate crime and discrimination in all policy areas as well as in everyday life. In the course of promoting Jewish life in the EU and as part of the new Security Union strategy, extremism directed against Jews should be countered. Freedom of religion and belief are some of the areas in which the Jewish minority faces disadvantages and therefore needs a clear protection strategy. Optimizing education, research and remembrance, particularly with regard to the history of antisemitism in Europe, including the Holocaust, can further promote equality.

Subject Matter:
The Commission will foster an annual civil society forum on combating antisemitism, where stakeholders and representatives of the Jewish community will identify measures required against discrimination. The mobilization of EU funds should be directed towards funding programs such as the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme, which aims to promote the fundamental rights of all people. National strategies for combatting antisemitism of respective member states will be encouraged and further evaluated by the Commission in 2023. Promoting organizations and projects that report on antiemetic hate speech both online and in everyday life, while integrating support services for victims of antisemitic hate crimes are also covered by the Communication. By 2022, new standards will be set for national equality bodies, and the member states will be supported in implementing the reforms. The IHRA definition will be used as a guideline as part of a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitic incidents within institutions. Further training of selected staff on the detection of antisemitism in the workplace has been planned. Additionally, the IHRA definition of Holocaust denial and falsification/trivialization for educational and awareness-raising purposes should be stimulated and transmitted to the general population through social media campaigns. The Program “Horizon Europe” encourages the financing of research and innovation activities with the aim of understanding current radicalization trends and presenting ways of effective prevention. Intercultural and interreligious dialogue will be implemented in order to maintain the cultural heritage, while the digitization of archives and testimonies of the Holocaust and the creation of a European research centre on modern antisemitism, Jewish life and culture can also contribute to the protection of Jews in the EU.



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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

Measuring EU progress Monitoring Juncker work plan ampel gelb

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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