The EU and migration
Within the EU, the focus in the area of asylum and migration is on harmonisation and practical cooperation. Efforts to develop a common European asylum system will be a priority for many years to come.
EU cooperation plays a significant part in the day-to-day operations of the Swedish Migration Agency because it affects issues such as the asylum process, the granting of visas, family immigration and labour immigration.
Freedom of movement
Freedom of movement is one of the cornerstones of EU policy. In Sweden, rules regarding freedom of movement began to apply as early as 1 January 1994, when the EEA Agreement came into force. Consequently, Sweden's entry into the EU in 1995 did not bring about any great changes in this area. The primary difference when Sweden became a Member State was that Sweden was then able to participate fully in EU measures regarding:
- The abolition of border controls (Schengen Cooperation)
- Coordination of visa rules
- Refugee and asylum policy
- Immigration policy
The objective of EU immigration policy is to harmonise and expand European and international cooperation to ensure a sustainable policy that protects the right to asylum, facilitates freedom of movement across borders, promotes needs-based labour immigration and which considers and takes care of the development effects of migration.
A European office for cooperation on asylum issues
In June 2011 the European Asylum Support Office, EASO, was established in Malta, after a decision by the EU's Heads of State and Government.
The purpose of the Support Office is to support practical cooperation between public authorities in the EU and to contribute to improved uniformity in examinations of asylum applications. It is hoped that this will also lead to improved reception conditions in the Member States and will reduce secondary migration within the EU.
The Support Office is also developing best practice at EU level and facilitates access to information on countries of origin (COI). EASO also administers a common EU COI-portal. In the beginning of 2012, EASO also took over the European training Program EAC (European Asylum Curriculum).