The EU’s response to migration and asylum crisis in Europe

On the 9th of September, the European Commission presented a reform package to deal with the current migration and refugee crisis. Among the advanced proposals – which have to be approved by the Member States representatives and (when required) by the European Parliament – are the following:

  • An emergency relocation proposal for 120,000 refugees from Greece, Hungary and Italy. The relocation would be done according to a mandatory distribution key using the following criteria (size of the population, GDP, average number of past asylum applications, unemployment rate). This comes in addition to the Commission’s proposal from May to relocate 40.000 people in clear need of international protection from Italy and Greece to other EU Member States. The new proposal foresees the possibility to active a temporary solidarity clause: If – for justified and objective reasons such as a natural disaster – a Member State cannot temporarily participate totally or in part in a relocation decision, it will have to make a financial contribution to the EU budget of an amount of 0.002% of its GDP. The new proposal thus bring to 160,000 the total number of asylum seekers to be relocated in the next two years.

  • A Permanent relocation mechanism to be triggered any time by the Commission to help any EU-Member State experiencing a large and disproportionate inflow of third country nationals in its territory. Such future emergency situations would be defined by the Commission based on the number of asylum applications in the last 6 months, per capita as well as the number of irregular border crossings in the last 6 months. The temporary solidarity clause described in the previous point will also apply here.

  • A common European list of Safe Countries of Origin. Citizens from the countries deemed safe will be subject to swifter processing of their asylum applications and then to faster returns in their countries of origin. The Commission proposes to add Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey to the EU list of safe countries of origin. According to the Commission, these countries should be considered safe as they are members to major international human rights Treaties and (with the exception of Kosovo) have been designated as candidate countries for the accession to the EU, and thus they fulfil the “Copenhagen criteria“ (guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities).

  • A Trust Fund for Africa with an allocation of €1.8 billion to tackle the root causes of irregular migration in Africa. The Fund will be used to improve the governance of migration in the countries of origin and transit of migration flows, in particular by implementing initiatives in the following areas: strengthening the rule of law, creating economic and education opportunities, enhancing legal mobility and building better governance, including on border management, the fight against human trafficking and smuggling, and the effective sustainable return, readmission and reintegration of irregular migrants not qualifying for protection The Fund addresses specifically the countries of the following regions: Sahel, Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa, and the North of Africa.

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