European Agenda on Migration: Still fragile situation gives no cause for complacency

Avramopoulos European Commission

© European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Yorgos Karahalis.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

Brussels, 16 May 2018

The Commission is today reporting on progress made under the European Agenda on Migration and the Commission’s roadmap from December 2017, and is setting out further key actions to be taken.

While joint EU efforts have continued to show results, the situation remains fragile due to ongoing migratory pressure, as evidenced by newly increased arrivals along the Eastern and the Western Mediterranean routes. This requires the EU as a whole to show the necessary vigilance and preparedness to respond to any seasonal peaks or shifts in pressure, including from one route to another. Today’s report identifies where the current response needs to be strengthened: plugging persistent gaps in assets for the European Border and Coast Guard; improving returns; boost resettlement; and better protecting migrants along the routes.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “This report confirms that we can only manage migration in a comprehensive way, through mutually reinforcing actions that are based on responsibility and solidarity. A reformed Common European Asylum System is a central part of this approach and together with the EU’s long term budget the EU will be ready to deal with any future migratory crisis. This reform cannot wait and I hope the European Council will be able to reach a deal in June.”

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “In the last years important progress has been made both within the EU and with our partner countries. However, the situation is still fragile and our work is far from over. This is why I call on Member States to urgently send border guards and equipment for the European Border and Coast Guard operations, but also to follow through on their commitment to reach an agreement on our asylum reform in June. We are once again reminded that we have absolutely no time to waste.”

 

Arrivals along the three main routes       

During the first months of 2018, the downward trend of 2017 has continued in the Central Mediterranean with arrival figures around 77% lower than those recorded in the same period in 2017.

While still drastically lower than before the EU-Turkey Statement, arrivals from Turkey have seen a significant increase since March 2018 both to the Greek islands (9,349 since the beginning of 2018) and via the land border (6,108 so far in 2018 – nine times more than during the same period in 2017). While the situation has overall stabilised along the Western Balkan route, increased movements through Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been reported in recent months.

Arrivals on the Western Mediterranean route continued to show an upward trend with around 6.623 arrivals in Spain since January 2018 (22 % higher than in the first months of 2017).

Managing the EU’s external borders

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency is presently supporting national border guards with around 1,350 deployed experts along all migratory routes. In view of the increased migratory pressure, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency stands ready to reinforce its presence on the land border between Greece and Turkey. The Agency has also offered to triple its operational deployments at the Greek land borders with Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In addition, work is advancing to conclude agreements with Western Balkan countries that will allow the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to assist them directly in managing their borders when needed.

However, there are persistent and significant gaps in personnel and equipment for the European Border and Coast Guard Agency – to the point that less than half of the current operational needs can be met. Member States must urgently step up their deployment if the Agency is to sustain ongoing operations or be in a position to engage in new ones.

The Commission’s proposal for the next long-term budget significantly reinforces the funds dedicated to external border management, including additional resources to strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard with an envisaged standing corps of 10,000.

Protecting migrants along the route

The EU is continuing its work to address root causes of migration while protecting migrants along the route and offering alternatives to irregular migration:

  • Voluntary returns from Libya: With EU support, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has assisted more than 6,185 people in voluntarily returning home from Libya in 2018 alone. The AU–EU–UN Taskforce continues to work with the Libyan authorities to stop the systematic detention of migrants, including children. So far this year, over 1,000 refugees have been released from detention thanks to these efforts.
  • Emergency evacuations: 1,152 people have been evacuated from Libya to Niger through the Emergency Transit Mechanism for further resettlement to Europe. 108 of them have already been resettled to France, Sweden and Switzerland. Referrals by the UNHCR should now be accelerated to speed up transfers to EU Member States. The EU supports this effort with €20 million.
  • Tackling migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks: Cooperation is being enhanced with partners in the Sahel, in line with the Declaration adopted in Niamey in March.
  • Addressing root causes: The EU Trust Fund for Africa has proved its worth, with 147 programmes, for a total amount of €2.59 billion so far, funding crucial initiatives such as voluntary returns from Libya. However, a significant funding gap of around €1.2 billion risks crippling these efforts if not addressed together by the EU and Member States.

The Commission is also proposing today a revision of the legislation on Immigration Liaison Officers deployed by EU Member States to non-EU countries to help intensify the EU dimension of coordination with crucial partners.

Conditions in Greece

Conditions in Greece remain a serious concern with heavy pressure on the islands and the slow pace of asylum procedures hampering returns to Turkey. The Commission has called on Greece to improve conditions on the islands with EU support; urgently accelerate the pace of returns; and finalise their contingency plan for increased arrivals.

Return and readmission

More work is needed to increase return of those migrants who have no right to stay in the EU as only 36.6% of return orders in 2017 were actually carried out. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency helped organise 111 return operations in 2018 but Member States should make much greater use of the Agency’s boosted mandate on returns. Significant progress is being made in improving cooperation on return with countries of origin, with several practical arrangements concluded over the past months and further negotiations on-going. To further improve the monitoring of returns and other relevant migration statistics, the Commission is also proposing today to increase Eurostat’s frequency of data publications.

Resettlement

Under the Commission’s new resettlement scheme, 20 Member States have pledged more than 50,000 places, out of which 4,252 transfers have already taken place. The Commission is calling on Member States to carry out 50% of the pledged resettlements by October 2018.

Next steps

To sustain the EU’s comprehensive approach on migration and ensure Europe is equipped to deal with any future crisis, Member States should now:

  • Fill gaps in border guards and equipment for the European Border and Coast Guard Agency;
  • Fill the €1.2 billion gap in funding for the EU Trust Fund for Africa;
  • Improve conditions in Greece and accelerate returns to Turkey;
  • Significantly step up returns and make use of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s mandate to assist with returns;
  • Accelerate resettlement efforts under the new scheme for priority countries, in particular as concerns the Emergency Transit Mechanism in Niger, as well as under the EU-Turkey Statement;
  • Swiftly reach an agreement on the reform of the Common European Asylum System, to ensure the EU is prepared to deal with any future crises.

Background

On 13 May 2015, the European Commission proposed a far-reaching strategy, through the European Agenda on Migration, to tackle the immediate challenges of the ongoing crisis, as well as to equip the EU with the tools to better manage migration in the medium and long term, in the areas of irregular migration, borders, asylum and legal migration.

Today’s Communication presents the developments since March 2018 and reports on progress made under the European Agenda on Migration and the Commission’s political roadmap towards a comprehensive migration agreement presented in December 2017.

Advertising

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

Grexit no longer a threat but how to manage a “tutti frutti” government if not with fear?

European Confederation of Junior Enterprises hosts in Geneva the Junior Enterprise World Conference

UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them

Drought in Europe: Commission presents additional measures to support farmers

Global Leaders Take The Stage At MWC Shanghai 2019, in association with The European Sting

EFSF/ESM boss tells half truths about Troika’s doings

Here’s how data could make our cities safer

Barriers to trade: as protectionism rises, EU continues opening up export markets for European firms

Why city residents should have a say in what their cities look like

Everything you need to know about water

Khashoggi trial in Saudi Arabia falls short of independent, international probe needed: UN rights chief

Where is Egypt leading the Middle East and the Mediterranean economy?

These countries are ranked highest – and lowest – for human development

Erdogan’s electoral win on a ‘me or chaos’ dilemma means trouble for everybody

Paris, Washington, IMF against Berlin and ECB on money and interest

Lack of access to clean water, toilets puts children’s education at risk, says UN

On our way to China

Security Council should ‘nurture’ Colombian consensus against return to violence, top UN official urges

Climate change is destroying a barrier that protects the US from hurricanes

The 27 EU leaders did nothing to help May unlock the Brexit talks

Commission tries to solidify the EU statistical system

Parliament sets up plan to fight the 3,600 criminal rings of EU

Scotland wants to create an ethical stock exchange (Post Brexit)

European Development Days 2013

Merkel refuses to consider the North-South schism of Eurozone

On Google antitrust case: “Let’s face it, some companies want to hurt Google and it goes as simple as that”

ZTE @ MWC14: ZTE excels in all areas at this year’s Mobile World Congress

‘Nothing left to go back for’: UN News hears extraordinary stories of loss, and survival as Mozambique rebuilds from deadly cyclones

Mainland Europe adopts Germanic cartel business patterns

What will the US look like under Trump? Was his election campaign a big scam?

State aid: Commission approves €431 million public support for cleaner transport in German cities

Google prepares to final EU judgement over Android antitrust case

MEPs want robust EU cyber defence and closer ties with NATO

The creation and maintenance of smoke-free public spaces in the UK

Davos participants call for digital trade deal

Greening the Belt and Road is essential to our climate’s future

The opportunity of studying Medicine abroad

New York City has a plan to fight fast fashion waste. Here’s how it works

Digital Single Market: New EU rules for online subscription services

UN food relief agency airlifts aid to DR Congo province hit by Ebola outbreak

Colombia: ‘Terrible trend’ of rights defenders killed, harassed; UN calls for ‘significant effort’ to tackle impunity

Kellen Europe Hosts EuroConference 2016

AI-assisted recruitment is biased. Here’s how to make it more fair

How civil society must adapt to survive its greatest challenges

European Parliament marks EU accession prospects for Serbia and Kosovo

Ensure safety of responders UN Security Council urges, amid worsening DR Congo Ebola outbreak

Resolving banks with depositors’ money?

UN postal agency ‘regrets’ US withdrawal

Some Prevailing Arguments and Perceptions over the South China Sea Issue Are Simply Wrong

‘End the ongoing atrocities’ against people with albinism in Malawi, say UN rights experts

Manufacturers Get Smarter for Industry 4.0

Zeid calls for ICC probe into Myanmar Rohingya crisis

New York and London mayors call on cities to divest from fossil fuels

The COP24 Agreement: Yes, it happened at last

MEPs take stock of the EU’s foreign, security and defence policy priorities

OECD joins with Argentina to fight financial crime

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

How fungi could save the world

The economic cost of anti-vaccination movements in Italy

MWC 2016 LIVE: Xiaomi looks to revive growth with flagships

More Stings?

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