European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has called for a “new pact on migration and asylum”.
She made the call in letters to future commissioners, Vice President with the migration brief Margaritis Schinas and Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Ylva Johansson.
“We must examine all the aspects, including eternal borders, the asylum and repatriations systems, the Schengen area of free circulation, and work with our partners outside the EU, von der Leyen said.
Read European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen full mission letter to Margaritis Schinas here
The German politician unveiled her new 27 commissioners on Tuesday who will head up various arms of the EU’s powerful civil service if they are approved by the European Parliament.
The title for the role given to former Commission chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas has raised eyebrows.
The Greek politician will be in charge of “migration, security, employment and education” and chair a commissioner’s group on “Protecting our European Way of Life.”
Amnesty International’s EU office tweeted: “Linking migration with security in the portfolio of the ‘Commissioner for Protecting our European Way of Life’ risks sending a worrying message.
“People who have migrated have contributed to the way of life in Europe throughout its history.
“We trust that Commissioner-designate Margaritis Schinas will work hard for an EU in which safe and legal routes allow migrants to continue to contribute to the future of Europe.”
In her mission letter to the proposed future Commissioner, Ms von der Leyen said that he should focus on “skills, education and integration” while also trying to build consensus on migration and working on the “security union”.
She said: “The European way of life is built on the principle of dignity and equality for all. You will coordinate the work on inclusion and building a genuine Union of equality and diversity.”
Many of the posts in Von der Leyen’s new cabinet, which will serve for five years, have avoided traditional ministerial titles for more goal-orientated names like Commissioner for “A Stronger Europe in the World” and “An Economy that Works for People”.
Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld told The Independent: “The very point about the European way of life, is the freedom for individuals to chose their own way of life. We do not need a Commissioner for that, thank you very much.”
“The implication that Europeans need to be protected from external cultures is grotesque and this narrative should be rejected” she added.