Two weeks after presenting the European Agenda on Migration, the Commission turns words into action and adopts the first implementation package to respond to the immediate, emergency situation. This includes:
- a proposal for a Council decision to trigger for the first time the emergency response mechanism under Article 78(3) of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This provision will be used to assist Italy and Greece. A total of 40,000 persons in clear need of international protection should be relocated from Italy and Greece to other EU Member States based on a distribution key over the next two years;
- a recommendation asking Member States to resettle 20,000 people from outside the EU, in clear need of international protection, over 2 years based on a distribution key;
- an EU action plan setting out concrete measures to prevent and counter migrant smuggling;
- guidelines of the Commission services on how to facilitate systematic fingerprinting of newly arrived applicants for international protection, in full respect of fundamental rights;
The package also includes a public consultation on the future of the Blue Card Directive, which aims to make it easier for highly skilled people to come and work in the EU but is currently scarcely used.
The College also took note of the state of play of the reinforced Frontex coordinated operation Triton. The new Operational plan extends the geographical area of Triton southwards to the borders of the Maltese search and rescue zone to cover the area of the former Italian Mare Nostrum operation.
Besides, the College of Commissioners has proposed a 2016 EU budget of €143.5 billion in payment credits focussed on jobs, growth, migration and global action.
Following the proposals to boost tax transparency in the EU in March, the College today held an orientation debate on measures to make corporate taxation fairer, more growth-friendly and transparent. They agreed on a new EU approach to successfully address tax abuse, ensure sustainable revenues and foster a better business environment. Today's orientation debate will feed into an Action Plan in June. The fight against tax evasion and avoidance is a top political priority of this Commission.
Today was also marked by the signature between the EU and Switzerland of a historic new tax transparency agreement, which will significantly improve the fight against tax evasion. Under the agreement, both sides will automatically exchange information on the financial accounts of each other's residents from 2018.
Finally President Juncker and the College of Commissioners met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.