During the Swedish EU Presidency in 2009, the Union adopted a five-year work plan: the Stockholm Programme. This has been the basis of the work performed by my colleague Viviane Reding and me during our terms in office. The Stockholm Programme establishes guidelines for deepened EU cooperation in the areas of law enforcement, asylum issues and migration. In addition, terrorism, cyber security, visa policy and the control of the Union’s external borders are some of the areas which are also included.
The purpose of the programme is to pin-point priorities, structured by work area and adapted to current challenges within and outside the EU. Thereby, the Union gets a common agenda for how policies should be developed and how new legislation should be shaped. For instance, the Common European Asylum System which was decided upon earlier this year, was one of the priorities within the Stockholm Programme. Moreover, it has contributed to the fight against trafficking in human beings and drug smuggling – with the aim of creating a more secure and more open Europe.
However, as time passes, things change. Having five-year programmes started when the areas covered were mainly intergovernmental. The Lisbon Treaty strengthened the European dimension substantially, creating the basis for an area of freedom, security and justice with respect for fundamental rights. Furthermore, there is no reason for having highly detailed policy programmes, since this is not the case for other work areas of the EU. There should also be a focus on ensuring the functioning of all of our previously adopted decisions.
Nonetheless, as the Stockholm Programme expires in 2014, it is time to start thinking about the challenges and priority areas of the the next term. To do this in the best possible manner, the Commission has initiated a so-called reflection process and we want as many people as possible to make their voices heard. This process will run until the 12th of January 2014 and more information on how you submit your proposal is available on the website of DG HOME. I hope that you use this opportunity to speak your mind!