Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

Avramopoulos

Press conference by Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, on a new Action Plan and Recommendation on Returns and progress reports under the European Agenda on Migration on Relocation and Resettlement, the EU-Turkey Statement, the Migration Partnership Framework and the European Border and Coast Guard as well as the 5th Security Union Progress Report. Date: 02/03/2017. Location: Brussels – EC/Berlaymont. © European Union , 2017 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: François Walschaerts

The European Commission announced last Thursday new measures for an efficient EU return policy together with the progress made and must be done by the EU member states on the EU’s relocation and resettlement schemes by September and beyond.

The slow relocation pace of refugees transferred from Greece and Italy to the rest European countries is a fact since only two countries are on track to meet their relocation share. The target to relocate 98.255 immigrants from Italy and Greece by September seems quite promising, not to say impossible, the moment that only 13.546 are transferred and many countries still refuse to participate to this scheme.

However, the EC states that there is no excuse for not delivering on the promises made in September 2015 and intends to fine the member states which will not meet their commitments by next September.

EU relocation figures

According to the EC, the EU member states are committed to resettle 98.255 refugees by September 2017 and not 160.000 since 7.745 from the first Council Decision on relocation have yet to be allocated and because 54.000 from the second Council Decision will be used for resettlement from outside the EU rather than relocation within the EU.

Thus far, France has relocated the largest number of applicants (2.758), followed by Germany (2.626) and the Netherlands (1.486). Only Malta and Finland are on track to meet their obligations for both Italy and Greece. However, Hungary, Austria and Poland are still denying to participate in the scheme whereas Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovakia are contributing partially.

EU-Turkey agreement still holds

It has been a year and the deal between the EU and Turkey continues delivering results with the number of arrivals to remain at low levels. More specifically, from an average of 1.700 refugees per day arriving in Greece a year ago, the average today stands at 47 according to the EC.

With the EU-Turkey Statement continuing to keep irregular crossings under control, but with arrivals still outpacing returns, the Commission also called on Greece and all Member States to keep up the momentum in implementing the Joint Action Plan to improve the situation in the islands.

But even if progress has been done, there is still fear that the agreement may be dissolved as Turkey is politically unstable and Erdogan seeks for more powers in the next referendum.

EC’s response

Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos stated during a press conference on March 2 that the relocation scheme target can be achieved with the required political will and that the EC will impose fines to the EU member states which will not meet their relocations obligations. More in detail, Dimitris Avramopoulos said that: “There are no more excuses for the Member States not to deliver. It is possible and feasible to relocate all those who are eligible from Italy and Greece by September – the moment when both emergency schemes are supposed to end. This means that it entirely depends on the political will and perseverance of Member States to make it happen. The relocation schemes end in September, but the responsibility of Member States to fulfil their obligations does not end there. It is as if you have an outstanding bill: you have to pay it.”

Despite the above statement, it is unlikely that the EC will impose fines to all the EU member states since almost every country will not manage to reach the relocation targets that were set in September 2015. Thus, the only thing that looks most likely to happen is to postpone the scheme for a “reasonable” period of time after September 2017.

Measures on EU return policy

The EC has presented a new action plan on return and proposes solutions on how to make return procedures more effective. Therefore, the financial aid for national return efforts is increased by 200 million euros in 2017 while information exchange is meant to be improved in order to support return through real time information at national level which will be shared by the Integrated Return Management application. Furthermore, reintegration packages should be ensured to be consistent among the EU member states and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency should offer all the help needed in the return process.

Through this Renewed Action Plan, the EC intends to provide full support to all Member States in order to ensure that irregular refugees are returned quickly and efficiently. As the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos mentioned last Thursday: “We need to give protection to those in need, but we must also return those who have no right to stay in the EU, in full compliance with the fundamental rights and the principle of non-refoulement. Ensuring that irregular migrants are returned swiftly will not only take pressure off the asylum systems in Member States and ensure appropriate capacity to protect those who are genuinely in need of protection, it will also be a strong signal against taking dangerous irregular journeys to the EU in the first place. With today’s Action Plan and Recommendation, the Commission is providing support to Member States in their efforts to step up returns, as called for by the EU leaders at the Malta Summit.”

Europe fails to reach relocation target

All in all, it is quite obvious that people have lost their faith in the EU and each and every country starts acting and focusing mainly on its national interest. While the EU countries are missing the target of relocating the pre-agreed number of immigrants from Greece and Italy by September, right-wing parties are gaining popularity in Europe which will certainly threaten immigration policies and schemes.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Yemen: ‘No justification for this carnage,’ says UNICEF chief, as children in need now outnumber population of Switzerland

Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

How COVID could democratise commutes

At least half of people who have a job fear they’ll lose it in the next 12 months

How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries

“None of our member states has the dimension to compete with China and the US, not even Germany!”, Head of EUREKA Pedro Nunes on another Sting Exclusive

‘Crimes against humanity,’ ‘war crimes’ and risk of new ethnic violence in DR Congo, warn UN experts

EU industry: Commission takes action to improve synergies between civil, defence and space industries

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Busting the myth by looking at the facts

The world is failing miserably on access to education. Here’s how to change course

Human trafficking, slavery reports and health of migrants in Libya

Urgent action needed to address growing opioid crisis

The issue of mental health for modern young doctors

Link between conflict and hunger worldwide, ‘all too persistent and deadly’, says new UN report

How Eurozone consumers spend their income when they have one…

The countries most ready for the global energy transition

How the world can ‘reset’ itself after COVID-19 – according to these experts

UN experts decry torture of Rakhine men and boys held incommunicado by Myanmar’s military

34 million Americans know someone who died after being unable to pay for medical treatment

Germany caught with selfish double standards in euro area policy

Mergers: Commission approves Synthomer’s acquisition of Omnova, subject to conditions

Easing funding woes for UN agency assisting Palestine refugees a ‘wise investment for today and the future’

‘Foreign children’ in overwhelmed Syrian camp need urgent international help, says top UN official

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

7 simple steps we can all take to reduce food waste

‘Being open about my mental health created a better work culture’

5 myths about face masks under the microscope

COVID-19 is likely to increase youth unemployment in Africa, this is how business can mitigate the damage

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

Corporate tax remains a key revenue source, despite falling rates worldwide

Trust in OECD governments back at pre-crisis levels as governments seek to be more open and engaged

Coronavirus: Commission stands ready to continue supporting EU’s agri-food sector

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

A brief history of vaccines and how they changed the world

Quicker freezing and confiscation of criminal assets in the EU

Madagascar: UN chief commends nation on first round of peaceful elections

How trade tariffs could help combat climate change

Mental health in a pandemic: what to do to ease the burden on people with disabilities?

Home working has exposed us all to more cybercrime. Here’s how to close the breach

How we can win the war against antibiotic resistance

Globalization 4.0 must provide for the poorest, or it risks causing chaos for everyone

JADE Spring Meeting 2015: a step forward for Youth Entrepreneurship

Coronavirus: harmonised standards for medical devices to respond to urgent needs

Giving humanitarian help to migrants should not be a crime, say MEPs

This electric plane has flown successfully for 30 minutes – is this the future of flying?

Fighting crime: faster EU-wide exchange of non-EU nationals’ criminal records

3 challenges facing global gig economy growth after COVID-19

Neither side stands to benefit in US-China trade spat, UN says

‘InvestEU’ programme: big boost for jobs, growth and investment

Prospect of lasting peace ‘fading by the day’ in Gaza and West Bank, senior UN envoy warns

Virtual Doctor: a core part of modern healthcare?

“Asia-Pacific takes stock of ambitious development targets”, written by the Heads of UNFPA and ESCAP

Dozens of children at risk as clashes in Hudaydah near hospital – UNICEF

Click and Download: your app is ready to help you save lives

It’s time to stop talking about ethics in AI and start doing it

A new tidal energy project just hit a major milestone in Scotland

“Private” sea freight indexes hide Libor like skeletons?

Italy’s Letta: A European Banking Union soon or Eurozone collapses

The EU Commission predicts a decimated growth in the next years

‘Stay together and step up’ action to meet Global Goals, ECOSOC President tells development forum

More Stings?

Advertising

Comments

  1. Dear Chris Anyfantis,
    please consider the http://www.migration-media-award.eu for reporting on migration in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Best, Sören

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s