EU leaders agreed that their “comprehensive, pragmatic and resolute” migration strategy, which aims to restore control of external borders and to reduce arrivals and the number of deaths at sea, was bringing results and should be consolidated.
At the same time they highlighted the need for vigilance on all migration routes and readiness to react to any new trends and developments.
The summit called for further action, including:
- support for directly affected EU countries
- strong cooperation with countries of origin and transit, including with Turkey and the Western Balkans
- further efforts to increase returns
- applying the necessary leverage by means of EU policies, such as trade or development, to improve return rates and prevent illegal migration
EU leaders also reaffirmed their support for the Schengen system. They said they would get “Back to Schengen” as soon as possible, taking into account security interests of EU countries.
They also pledged to continue talks on the reform of the Dublin system at their summit in December, with a view of reaching a consensus in the first half of 2018.
Central Mediterranean Route
Illegal arrivals decreased by almost 70% on the Central Mediterranean route in the third quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, thanks to the efforts of the EU and its member states, especially Italy.
“Leaders agreed to offer Prime Minister Gentiloni stronger support for Italy’s work with the Libyan authorities. We have a real chance of closing the Central Mediterranean route”
President Donald Tusk at the press briefing of European Council meeting of 19 October 2017
At the summit the EU leaders called for further efforts, including:
- working with Libya and its neighbours to boost border controlsand support local communities along the migratory routes in Libya
- increase efforts to establish a permanent EU presence in Libya
- providing adequate and targeted funding for migration-related projects in North Africa