This page includes news on the most recent development in the field of migration and asylum at European level. On a regular basis, the ISMU Foundation gathers information on the latest legislative proposals, declarations, decisions and opinions issued by European Institutions and agencies, Council of Europe, academia and civil society. More specifically, this section focusses on social inclusion and interfaith dialogue and other migration-related issues.
19.6.2018: Over the past two weeks…
(14/06) EU budget: Making the EU fit for its role as strong global actor. For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission is proposing to increase the external action budget to €123 billion, to significantly simplify its structure, and make it much more flexible and effective to address today’s global challenges. The external action budget will be the EU’s main tool to support its partner countries in their political and economic transformations towards sustainable development, stability, consolidation of democracy, socio-economic development and the eradication of poverty. It will also allow the EU to continue to provide humanitarian assistance all over the world. As regards the EU’s neighbourhood, this will also be the tool to help the neighbourhood countries in their economic approximation to the EU’s Single Market. Full press release here.
(12/06) EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration. For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission proposes to almost triple funding for migration and border management to €34.9 billion, as compared to €13 billion in the previous period. The Commission’s proposal is a response to increased migratory, mobility and security challenges, with more flexible funding instruments to address unforeseen migratory events and border protection at the core of the new budget. A new separate fund for integrated border management will be created and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will be further strengthened with a new standing corps of around 10,000 border guards. The new border fund will also help Member States carry out customs controls by financing customs control equipment. Full press release here. Q&A here.
(7/06) EU budget: Commission proposes most ambitious Research and Innovation programme yet. For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing €100 billion for research and innovation. A new programme – Horizon Europe – will build on the achievements and success of the previous research and innovation programme (Horizon 2020) and keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation. Horizon Europe is the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever. Full press release here.
(7/06) EU provides €1.5 million in humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The European Commission has announced today €1.5 million in humanitarian aid to address the increasing needs of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants stranded in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This brings Commission humanitarian funding to €30.5 million to address the needs in Western Balkans since the start of the refugee crisis. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “The number of refugees and migrants arriving in Bosnia and Herzegovina has increased and we must act swiftly. We are committed to help Bosnia and Herzegovina deal with this situation and deliver assistance to the most vulnerable refugees and migrants. Our funding will support their basic needs and provide emergency shelter, food and health assistance, as well as protection.” EU humanitarian aid will be provided in locations such as Sarajevo, Bihać and Velika Kladusa in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The funding aims to strengthen the provision of assistance, the protective environment and enhancing the capacity of organisations already providing first-line emergency response. Full press release here.
(15/06) 35th ACP-EU Assembly: migration and demographics will dominate the debate. ACP-EU relations post-Cotonou and demographic growth will be among the key issues at the 35th session of ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly in Brussels. From the 18th to 20th June 2018, in Brussels, members of the European Parliament and the parliament of 78 countries across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) will debate migration, demographic growth, ACP-EU relations post-Cotonou and the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. “Sustainable economic development at the heart of stable states is the only way to tackle migration and the brain drain. It will transform demographic growth into an advantage and help women to blossom and be empowered” said Louis Michel, Co-President of the ACP-EU JPA for the European Parliament. Full press release here.
(14/06) Reception conditions for asylum-seekers agreed between MEPs and Council. 1) Asylum-seekers to be allowed to work 6 months after requesting asylum, instead of current 9 months; 2) No minor to go to prison, detention of children only for family unity or to protect them; 3) Language courses from day one; 4) MEPs and Council also agreed on the conditions to grant international protection. Full press release here.
(12/06) MEPs demand an end to migrant deaths across the Mediterranean Sea. Ahead of the next EU summit on 28-29 June, MEPs urge EU leaders to show real political will and draw up genuine solutions to finally end the migration crises. In a debate with European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Deputy Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Monika Panayotova, on Tuesday morning, MEPs laid out their priorities for the next crucial EU summit in Brussels on 28-29 June. Some of the political groups urged EU leaders at the summit to put an end to formal discussions on migration and start working towards an agreement on the so-called “Dublin system”. They referred to the new Italian government’s recent decision to refuse a boat carrying migrants, the MS Aquarius, to dock in the country over the weekend as a “disgrace” and “a scandal”. Full press release here.
EUROPEAN COUNCIL/COUNCIL OF THE EU
(14/06) Fight against human trafficking in Libya: EU sanctions six human traffickers and smugglers in line with UN decision. On 14 June, the Council transposed into EU law sanctions adopted by the United Nations on 7 June, imposing a travel ban and an asset freeze on six human traffickers and smugglers operating in Libya, four of Libyan nationality and two of Eritrean nationality. The individuals targeted by the sanctions are key figures in human trafficking and migrant smuggling activities in and around Libya. It is the first time that the UN imposes sanctions against human traffickers. The decision by the UN Security Council committee was the result of coordinated efforts of several EU members states. Full press release here.
(12/06) Schengen information system: agreement between the Council Presidency and the European Parliament. On 12 June 2018, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council and the European Parliament reached an informal agreement on three regulations on the use of the Schengen Information System: in the field of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters; in the field of border checks¸for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals. The draft regulations address potential gaps and introduce several essential changes to the current system on the types of alert entered. They will contribute to strengthen the fight against terrorism and serious crime, ensuring a high level of security in the EU, and will help migration management. Full press release here.
(15/06) EASO – Asylum: EU consolidates recovery from 2015-2016 migration crisis – Significant decrease in applications in 2017 has stabilised in early 2018. On 18 June 2018, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) released its 2017 Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union. In 2017, there were 728,470 applications for international protection in the EU. This figure represents a decrease of 44% compared to 2016, when there were almost 1.3 million applications, while provisional data for early 2018 (January – April) shows that application levels have stabilised at an average of less than 50,000 per month. Full press release here.
(15/06) EESC – Growing shortage of carers makes it high time for EU to regulate live-in care sector. The EESC held the fourth of its Going Local meetings on the live-in care sector in the EU, this time in Poland. The country provides much of the sector’s workforce in western EU Member States, but has itself started to face a serious shortage of qualified carers in recent years. Full press release here.
(14/06) EU Court of Auditors – EU support for Sahel helped to improve internal security, but progress remains slow, say Auditors. The EU Sahel Missions have helped strengthen the internal security forces in Niger and Mali, but progress has been slow due to challenging conditions and operational inefficiency, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. Full press release here.
(13/06) EIGE, FRA et al – EU agencies stand together against human trafficking. Ten EU agencies signed a joint statement of commitment to work together to address trafficking in human beings. Full statement here.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
(15/06) ECRE – Disembarkation debacle: A political hot potato – with lives at stake. The refusal by new Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini to allow the Aquarius- a civilian search and rescue vessel operating in the Central Mediterranean by SOS Mediterranée and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)- to dock in an Italian port and safely disembark the 630 people it had on board sparked a humanitarian, legal and diplomatic crisis this week. Full press release here.
(8/06) ECRE – UNHCR and UNDP sign MoU with Myanmar to repatriate Rohingya refugees. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Myanmar Government detailing plans for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees. The tripartite agreement, signed in Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday 6 June, outlines the conditions under which voluntary returns of Rohingya can take place, and where, if they choose, they may make the journey from refugee camps in Bangladesh back to their homes in Rakhine State, Western Myanmar. Full press release here.
(8/06) ECRE – Triple tragedy – excessive death in the Mediterranean. The 1 -3 June saw devastating loss of life across all the three major Mediterranean migration routes, making it the deadliest weekend in the region this year. An estimated 125 men, women and children have drowned off the coast of Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Spain and Morocco in separate incidents. Full press release here.
(8/06) ECRE – Officials push for information exchange on arrivals at Western Balkan meeting. Representatives of countries along the Balkan route (Greece, Albania, FYROM, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria) committed to closer cooperation and information exchange on migrants arriving on their territory, during a meeting held on 7 June 2018 in Sarajevo. Such exchange would seek to establish whether the persons apprehended in the region have previously stayed in European countries, according to a statement by the Bosnian Minister for Security, Dragan Mektić. Full press release here.
(8/06) ECRE – Refugee Protection and Forced Displacement in the EU post-2020 MFF, 18 June Roundtable. UNHCR and ECRE are organizing a roundtable meeting entitled: “Protecting refugees and addressing forced displacement in the EU post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)” to take place on Monday, 18th June 2018 (9h30 – 17h00) in The Press Club Brussels Europe, Rue Froissart 95, Brussels 1000. Full press release here.
(8/06) ECRE – Editorial: Asylum in Europe: Where do we go now? After two years of tortuous and time-consuming negotiations, there is no sign that discussions on the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) are going to reach a satisfactory conclusion. The sticking point remains the reform of the Dublin Regulation with the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday seemingly not reaching an agreement. According to the Bulgarian EU Presidency, chairing, and European Commissioner Avramopoulos the discussions were “frank and open” – a euphemistic way of saying that there was a(nother) big fight. Indeed, in the press conference afterwards Avramopoulos could barely conceal his anger towards some of the ministers, in particular Belgium’s provocateur Theo Francken who declared the Dublin reform “dead”. Full press release here.
European Commission – 2017 Annual Report on the Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
Burson-Marsteller (via EuropeDecides) – Why the change in Spain and Italy will unsettle the EU