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

China Unlimited: an exclusive interview with the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

Healthcare workers’ safety: a forgotten necessity

Understanding the ‘second brain’ in your gut

5 things to know about the exploding world of pro gaming

First EU-wide protection for whistle-blowers agreed

The EU has to prove it can remain one piece

These 8 countries have perfect scores for women’s rights at work

International Women’s Day: Where does she belong?

Africa-Europe Alliance: European Commission committed to a sustainable African agri-food sector

4 things ISPs can do to reduce the impact of cybercrime

Trump ‘used’ G20 to side with Putin and split climate and trade packs

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into arbitration award in favour of Antin to be paid by Spain

Vile act of torture prohibited ‘under all circumstances’, UN chief affirms on International Day to support victims

3 ways to ensure the internet’s future is creative, collaborative and fair

This lethal fungus is threatening to wipe out the world’s bananas

EU food watchdog: more transparency, better risk prevention

New rules on drivers’ working conditions and fair competition in road transport

Help African farmers cope with climate change threats, UN food agency urges

Why cybersecurity matters more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic

Europe eyes to replace US as China’s prime foreign partner

3 ways to make technologies more inclusive for people with disabilities

Confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine grows in UK and US, but global concerns about side effects are on the rise

Preventing and resolving conflicts must form ‘backbone’ of collective efforts – UN chief

UPDATED: Thousands flee fighting around Libyan capital as Guterres condemns escalation, urges ‘immediate halt’ to all military operations

How emerging markets will shape Africa in 2020

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

High-tech or ‘high-touch’: UK survey gives clues to the jobs of the future

Security Council urges ‘maximum restraint’ around Gulf region as Iran and United States trade diplomatic blows in New York

EU Parliament says ‘no’ to austerity budget

ISIS fighters fleeing Mosul for Syria can topple Assad. Why did the US now decide to uproot them from Iraq?

China and China-EU Relations in the New Era

5 things you might not know about forests – but should

More hiring freedom can reduce teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas

When it comes to envirotech adoption, NGOs can lead us out of the woods

‘Extinction crisis’ pushes countries to agree stronger protection for global wildlife

Why we need both science and humanities for a Fourth Industrial Revolution education

The digital transformation is a skills and education opportunity for all. Companies must use it

European Commission increases support for the EU’s beekeeping sector

Building a Climate-Resilient Future – A new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change

The UK option: An overarching alternative for the whole Brexit options

‘The time for action is now’ senior UN peacekeeping official says, urging support for regional force combating Sahel terrorism

Mediterranean migrant drownings should spur greater action by European countries, urge UN agencies

Carbon levy on EU imports needed to raise global climate ambition

Iran: women hunger strikers entitled to medical care, UN rights experts urge

It is now the era to evolve mutually as the bacteria do

COVID-19: Revised rules to encourage banks to lend to companies and households

Fashion’s hot new trend: clothes you don’t need to wash (very often)

Stronger partnerships with post-conflict countries needed to ensure ‘path towards durable peace’: UN chief

Republic of Korea President proposes DMZ as future ‘peace and cooperation district’ on Peninsula

Women’s work faces the greatest risk of automation, says new research

May led Britain to chaos, now looks for way out with unpredictable DUP

We must rethink and repurpose cybersecurity for the COVID-19 era

EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

National parks give a $6 trillion boost to mental health worldwide

Here’s how data can shine a light on financial crime

Will Eurozone be able to repay its debts? Is a bubble forming there?

Eight years in, Syria still embroiled in conflict ‘that no longer sparks outrage’, Security Council hears

Difficulties of vaccination against COVID-19

Services are the hidden side of the US-China trade war

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