We are happy that our work in the Silk Routes region is recognised and applaud the commitment that the EU should build on the important progress made through dedicated dialogues and frameworks. Working in partnership with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan is highlighted in the new EU Migration Pact and we welcome this.
The new proposal aims to reduce unsafe and irregular migration routes while promoting sustainable and safe legal pathways for those in need of protection. It also highlights the importance of addressing the root causes of irregular migration, combatting migrant smuggling, helping refugees residing in third countries and supporting well-managed legal migration. These are valuable objectives for both the EU and us as partners to pursue.
The proposal also underlines that Integrated Border Management is an essential component of a comprehensive migration policy: well-managed EU external borders are a vital component in working together on integrated policies on asylum and return.
We also welcome the new 2021-2025 EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling which will focus on combatting criminal networks, boosting cooperation and supporting the work of law enforcement agencies to tackle migrant smuggling, which is often also linked to trafficking in human beings. These topics are covered in a series of videos that can be found at this link: https://www.budapestprocess.org/resources/videos
Finally, we fully support plans to facilitate legal migration to attract the skills and talent that the EU needs. The contribution of migrants in reducing skills gaps and increasing the dynamism of the EU labour market was recognised in the recently updated Skills Agenda for Europe. We welcome the commitment to reform the EU Blue Card Directive, fully implement the recently revised Directive on Students and Researchers, as well as address the Directive on long-term residents, Single Permit Directive and EU Talent Pool initiative. We are also delighted by the launch of a public consultation on attracting skills and talent.