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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

UN chief condemns explosion at election rally in Zimbabwe that injured dozens, including senior politicians

Drawing scenarios for drifting Britain; elections or May’s deadlock?

Africa is helping the drone industry get off the ground. Here’s how

Crimea, a wicked game of political chess and a ‘big’ coincidence

We dream of being a part of the European family, says FYROM PM

The global appetite for meat is growing, and it’s harming the planet

Innovation for a smarter world: ITU Telecom World 2018

UN relief chief urges Security Council to back aid delivery, more funding for millions of Syrians hit by harsh weather

UN experts urge India to align new anti-trafficking bill with human rights law

This is how people in Europe are helping lead the energy charge

A refugee from Syria cries out: “I’m not just a number!”

South Sudan: ‘Horrific acts’ by government may constitute ‘war crimes’ says UN, demanding justice

No improvement in respect for EU values: MEPs cut support for Turkey by €70m

How trade wars pose a threat to the global economy

Primary Healthcare vs Specialization Careers, how to promote PHC to the Young Health Workforce?

Scores of Rohingya refugee shelters in Bangladesh destroyed by flooding

Traditional knowledge at ‘core’ of indigenous heritage, and ‘must be protected’, says UN Forum

Political power of women suffering ‘serious regression’, General Assembly President warns

Seaweed, enzymes and compostable cups: Can ‘Big Food’ take on plastic and win?

Chile ups foreign bribery enforcement but flawed case resolutions are insufficient to ensure transparency and accountability

Migrant children at US border have right to protection and ‘be with their families’: UNICEF chief

Afghanistan: UN mission welcomes new polling dates following election delays

Conflict prevention, mediation: among ‘most important tools’ to reduce human suffering, Guterres tells Security Council

Cryptocurrency mining could become the new face of energy storage. Here’s how

Five-year low inflation for Eurozone and now Mario has to finally wake up the Germans

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

Draghi cuts the Gordian knot of the Banking Union

Drinking coffee could help you live longer, research finds

Draghi to hold on zero interest rates until he leaves ECB

How tech companies compare at protecting your digital rights

Access to health in the developping world

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile World Congress shows off planes, trams and automobiles

Can the EU afford a trade war with China?

Youth for Climate Change

EU gas market: new rules agreed will also cover gas pipelines entering the EU

Gaza probe finds ‘reasonable grounds’ Israeli forces committed international human rights violations

Trump and Brexit: After the social whys the political whereto

As human caravan moves through Mexico, ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders: UN chief

DR Congo elections: ‘historic opportunity’ for ‘peaceful transfer of power’ says Security Council

5 ways Denmark is preparing for the future of work

How will the NATO-EU competition evolve in the post Brexit era?

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: A European patent system can help European businesses lead industrial research and innovation on a global scale

UN rights office calls for action to end ‘repression and retaliation’ in crisis-torn Nicaragua

New rules for temporary border controls within the Schengen area

UN experts report: Business ‘dragging its feet’ on human rights worldwide

Heat-resistant crops, ‘green’ infrastructure, can prepare Near East and North Africa to better tackle droughts – UN agency

The big five EU telecom operators in dire straights

Batteries included: how better storage can transform renewable energy

LIFE Programme: Member States to benefit from quarter of a billion euros of investments in environment, nature and climate action

‘Informing is not a crime’ UN chief calls for better protection of journalists, press freedom

Alexis Tsipras against internal and external “enemies” in pursue of a two-phase deal now

EU and China resolve amicably solar panel trade dispute

Why rich countries are seeing more poverty

Europe enters uncharted waters with Kiev-Moscow standoff

More state aid to big firms, no special provisions for the SMEs

Angola’s President João Lourenço calls for stronger EU-Africa cooperation

Human rights chief calls for international probe on Venezuela, following ‘shocking accounts of extrajudicial killings’

UN urges ‘restraint’ in Bangladesh’s post-presidential election violence

Algorithms are being used to convict criminals and decide jail time. We need to make sure they are fair

More Stings?

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