September 24, 2015
Back in April, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told EU leaders that a revamped legal immigration system was part of the solution to illegal immigration.
He was pushing for a revamp of the EU’s existing, but poorly implemented, Blue Card system, which aims to attract highly-skilled workers to the EU, and grants migrants the right of residence in other EU member states.
As EurActiv reported at the time, Juncker’s proposals were given short shrift by the heads of state and government.
>>Read: Juncker suffers double blow in immigration
A source later told Heard in Europe that a number of leaders were furious with Juncker for trampling over sensitive domestic political issues.
>>Read: Bad blood remains over Juncker’s migration push
Since April, the refugee crisis has mushroomed even further out of control. And last night at the European Council, Juncker returned to the bearpit, armed with a sheath of proposals.
Nestled in among the other measures was Blue Card 2.0. So how did it go down with the leaders this time?
Heard in Europe spotted a very well placed EU official nursing a gin and tonic and had a quiet word.
The source said that there was an evolution in attitudes since the April meeting. Germany and Sweden were now in favour, the source claimed.
The source said that 50% of the Council seemed to back the ideas around opening up legal channels of migration as part of the solution to the crisis.
And the insider was bullish about securing a deal on the revamped law in 2016. By then, the mole said, there should be enough support to force it through on a qualified majority vote.
If that happens Juncker will have managed to get one of his pet projects – and one of the policies he campaigned for election as president for – onto the lawbooks, against what seemed impossible odds just five months ago.
What is it they say about not letting a good crisis go to waste?
Photo courtesy of the European Union.Heard in Europe