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 Milestone

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

The completion of the European Banking Union attracts billions of new capital for Eurozone banks

JADE Handover Ceremony at the European Parliement

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

Financial services: Commission sets out its equivalence policy with non-EU countries

Getting vaccinated should just be considered a human right?

Sustainable Development Summit: ‘We must step up our efforts – now’, Guterres declares

Long-term EU budget: MEPs lay down funding priorities for post-2020 budget

This is the state of the world’s health, in numbers

Food safety: Enhancing consumer trust in EU risk assessment and authorisation

JADE Spring Meeting 2017 – day 3: JADE Academy trainings, networking session and gala dinner – Excellence Awards winners revealed

Peacekeeping chief highlights challenges facing UN Police

Prevention is key to ‘breaking the cycle of HIV transmission’, UN chief tells General Assembly

Nearly a third of the globe is now on Facebook – chart of the day

Sustainable investment is on the rise – here’s how to connect the dots

Putin becomes the ‘perfect enemy” for the West

Q&A on the 19th China-EU Summit to be held on 01-02 June 2017 in Brussels

It is me

‘Complacency is still strong’ over stopping genocide, says top UN adviser

Western Sahara: a ‘peaceful solution’ to conflict is possible, says UN envoy

Charlotte in Ghana

How banking with blockchain can stamp out corruption and increase financial inclusion

Guterres says UN stands ready to support Brazil’s search and rescue effort in wake of tragic dam collapse

Cédric in India

An ECB banker wants to change the European social model

How the coronavirus market turmoil compares to 2008 – and what we can do

Trump’s America divides the world, bullies China and Europe

UN member states express their will to tackle global migration but specific actions are still missing

Higher education becoming again a privilege of the wealthy?

The hazards of “heroism” in the time of COVID-19

How climate change sparks innovation for fragile communities

How do we build trust between humans and AI?

Doctors are humans too: the benefits of embracing your mental status

International co-operation vital to improve integration of refugees

How next-generation information technologies tackled COVID-19 in China

How to change the world at Davos

China revisited by the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

A skills gap is jeopardizing efforts to end energy poverty

Pandemic: another look at the self

Climate change: new rules agreed to determine which investments are green

More than half of world’s refugee children ‘do not get an education’, warns UNHCR

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

G20 LIVE: World Leaders in Turkey for G20 Summit. Global Economy will be discussed in Antalya

New VAT rules in the EU: how a digital sea could have become an ocean

EU to increase spending and improve delivery of education in emergencies and protracted crises

Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Broadcom concerning TV set-top box and modem chipset markets

Virtual Doctor: a core part of modern healthcare?

Guterres lauds UN peacekeeping, highlights need to bridge ‘critical’ gaps

UN makes ‘declaration of digital interdependence’, with release of tech report

UN envoy commends successful conclusion of Guinea-Bissau presidential election

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “You just don’t know if the oil price will be 20$ or 100$ in the next 2-3 years!” top Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff underscores from Davos

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

28 million elective surgeries may be cancelled worldwide: how non-COVID-19 medical care is suffering

Germany fears that Americans and Russians want to partition Europe again

Online platforms required by law to be more transparent with EU businesses

Light at the end of the Eurozone tunnel

German Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

Some progress made towards security in Mali, but still a long way to go, Security Council hears

The time for cities to get smart is now

Delhi Declaration: Countries agree to make ‘land degradation neutrality’ by 2030, a national target for action

China is a renewable energy champion. But it’s time for a new approach

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