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EU and immigration. Causes, trends and consequences of migration processes

International migration is a real challenge facing the European Union and its Member States today and in the near future. The EU has been one of the main destinations of increasing immigration on the regional and global scales since the beginning of the 21st century, while at the same time experiencing important migratory movements within its borders. Therefore, it has been looking for effective solutions to approach the multidimensional consequences of the growing influx of migrants into its territory. However, the events in international relations – especially in the Mediterranean Region after 2010 – raise more questions than provide answers. The aim of this paper is to present the recent immigration trends to the EU Member States, highlighting, in particular the importance of their consequences, as well as discuss the challenges they introduce together with possible solutions at the EU level. Therefore, I start with a brief overview of terminological and definitional dilemmas in the field of international migration and asylum to show the multiplicity of terms and definitions in use and the complexity of relations between them. Then, the recent developments in the area of international migratory movements of different nature to the EU Member States are described, including key facts and figures on the migrant and refugee crisis in Europe. The EU response to the current crisis situation is also discussed, focusing on the European Agenda on Migration proposed in May 2015 and on its two important immediate actions – the relocation and resettlement schemes. On the basis of these considerations final conclusions are formulated.

Keywords: the European Union, the EU, the Mediterranean Sea, international migration, asylum, immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, migrant crisis, immigration crisis, refugee crisis, European Agenda on Migration, common migration and asylum policy