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.
12/09: OVER THE PAST TWO WEEKS…
The European commission published an advancement reports package on the EU Agenda on Migration. At international level, the UN and the WHO have issued press releases on the global and regional governance of migration flows.
Among civil society, Social Platform provided comments on the European social pillar and the 2020 EU budget negotiations, while ECRE commented on the Paris mini-summit from a migration perspective. Caritas Europe issued a statement on the relation between safe access to Europe and tackling human trafficking.
(6/09) Partnership Framework on Migration: Joint management of migration shows positive results. The Fifth progress report on the Partnership Framework on Migration, presented today by the Commission and the High Representative, shows that measures put in place to better manage migration along the Central Mediterranean Route and with partners in Africa are starting to bear fruits. The number of tragic deaths at sea has significantly decreased over the summer months, alongside a substantial reduction in the number of migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean. Jointly with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the EU has assisted more than 11.000 migrants to voluntarily return to their home countries from Libya and Niger. Taking the work initiated in 2016 under the Partnership Framework on Migration forward, the EU and its Member States have intensified efforts to save lives, break the business model of smugglers and traffickers, fight root causes and work in partnership with countries of origin and transit, while upholding European values and the respect for human rights.
(6/09) European Agenda on Migration: Good progress in managing migration flows needs to be sustained. In four progress reports adopted today, the Commission is calling on all parties to sustain and further accelerate the good progress made in managing irregular migration flows, protecting the EU external borders and supporting the frontline Member States under pressure. With 27,695 persons relocated so far, the EU relocation mechanism is working and delivering results. It is crucial that Member States relocate all eligible candidates from Italy and Greece as swiftly as possible. The EU-Turkey Statement continues to ensure consistently low numbers of irregular arrivals in Greece and enabled almost 10,000 Syrians to be resettled to the EU. During the summer months, irregular crossings and deaths in the Central Mediterranean decreased significantly, reflecting also the concerted efforts by the EU, in particular Italy. The tools of the European Border and Coast Guard are now in place, but more efforts are needed from Member States to take full advantage of the Agency’s expanded mandate on returns.
EUROPEAN COUNCIL/COUNCIL OF THE EU
(1/09) WHO – Rescue in the Mediterranean: learning from the Italian experience. Following the February 2016 closure of the “Balkan route” from Greece through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Serbia, Italy has served as the main point of entry to Europe for migrants and refugees. The International Organization for Migration reports that between 1 January and 4 June 2017, a total of 71 418 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea; nearly 85% arrived in Italy. The Italian authorities have gained significant experience in providing search-and-rescue and life-saving interventions to those most in need. To learn from this experience, participants of the WHO/Europe Summer School on Refugee and Migrant Health took part in field trip that included a simulated search-and-rescue operation and triage exercise.
(1/09) UN – U.N. Rapporteur: We Need a Long-Term Strategy for Human Migration. The U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants decries the “shallow scaremongering” that passes for public debate on migration. He proposes eight goals to transform the way states manage migration.
(31/08) EU Court of Auditors – Trust fund for Central African Republic a “positive achievement”, say EU Auditors. The first-ever EU trust fund, set up in Africa, can be counted as a “positive achievement”, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. The Bêkou EU trust fund for the Central African Republic has attracted aid, and most of its projects have delivered their expected outputs, although few additional donors have come forward. The fund also provides enhanced visibility for the EU in the region, say the auditors. Launched in July 2014, the Bêkou fund was the first of its kind managed by the European Commission. Its donors are the EU, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland, who have pledged a total of €146 million to support the Central African Republic’s exit from crisis and its reconstruction. Full press release here.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
(11/09) Social Platform – Social Pillar – back to reality (with a bump). The cold, rainy weather of these days is no surprise. Whoever lives in Brussels is used to evanescent summers and the abrupt return to reality they bring, following any short summer escape to a random sunny, exotic destination. The problem is that those dark clouds hovering above us risk becoming a good metaphor of what is happening to the hope of a genuine relaunch of a social Europe. The European Pillar of Social Rights is the perfect example of that. Conceived as a high-level initiative, no less than by Commission President Juncker in his quest for a social triple-A Europe, and built on a year-long consultation that involved EU governments, social partners, civil society and other relevant stakeholders, it is now navigating uncertain waters. Full article here.
(11/09) What EU budget would we like to see in 2020? In 2018 the European Commission will present its budget proposal for the next multiannual financial framework (MFF, the EU’s annual general budget). We have until the end of the year to ‘think outside the box’, and ask ourselves what we would like the next budget to look like and which EU funding programmes it should include. This exercise is already taking place within the European Commission, the European Parliament, Member States, and civil society organisations (CSOs). Full article here.
(8/09) ECRE – Italy further strengthens cooperation with Libya amid human rights concerns. The Italian Ministry of Interior published statistics this week showing that arrivals from Libya have dramatically decreased over the summer. Italy has taken further steps to enhance cooperation with Libya on migration control.
Latest data published by the Italian Ministry of Interior this week show that cooperation with Libya has resulted in a strong decline in arrivals from Libya. Numbers dropped compared to the previous year by nearly 50 percent in July and more than 80 percent in August. Full press release here.
(8/09) ECRE – The ‘cornerstone’ of CEAS continues to operate in opacity. A new statistical update from ECRE’s AIDA database for the first half of 2017 represents the most solid available information on the use of the Dublin Regulation. The report seeks to fill the information gap created by the systematic reluctance of Member States to comply with the Migration Statistics Regulation and the consistent failure of Eurostat to publish updated statistics. “Figures for 2016 which Member States were bound to submit by the end of March 2017, were not available by early July 2017 when the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published its annual asylum report. This persisting lack of information hampers meaningful debate on the challenges and dysfunctions of the Dublin system – civil society alone cannot fill the knowledge gap,” says Senior AIDA Coordinator Minos Mouzourakis. While figures show an increase of outgoing transfers for most countries operating the Dublin Regulation the allocation of responsibility for asylum seekers remains uneven across European countries. Full press release here.
(8/09) ECRE – Relocation: a test of European solidarity we cannot afford to fail. On September 6 the Court of Justice of EU (CJEU) dismissed in its entirety the challenges brought by Hungary and Slovakia to the provisional mechanism of mandatory relocation established in September 2015. However, approaching the expiration date of September 26 of the Relocation Decision just 27,695 persons have been relocated according to the new Progress Report from the Commission. As pointed out in the ECRE Policy Note Relocation not Procrastination successful relocation requires full compliance by Member States to meet their obligations even beyond the expiration date. Full press release here.
(8/09) ECRE – Weekly Editorial: Paris mini-summit: Much ado about nothing? Or a cause for concern? While commentators were quick to dismiss the Paris mini-summit as an ill-advised foray into the quagmire of the migration issue by a new leader, explored from the wider perspective of European security, it can be considered more of a success for France. On migration, the mini-summit declaration is but the latest in a long line of migration agreements between the EU and Africa (with various different constellations on each side). There is a complicated patchwork of such agreements, usually with the Europeans emphasising the fight against smugglers (read: preventing arrivals in Europe) and the Africans stressing development money (at least in the agreements – legal migration is their key priority in any informal communication): GAMM, Valetta, Rabat, Khartoum, the Partnership Framework and so on. The declaration adds little: the meeting to watch will be the EU-Africa Summit in November, where a row is brewing as AU, African states and African civil society take a stronger stance against the imposition of a European migration control agenda. Full article here.
(4/09) PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants: Back to school is not for every child – Undocumented children still excluded. As students begin the new school year across Europe, undocumented migrant children are often still excluded from going to school or prevented from completing their education. Undocumented children are often denied school registration, or not allowed to take exams or get certificates for the studies they complete. Secondary school after the age of 16 and vocational training is almost always off limits. There are also risks that school authorities will report children and their families to immigration authorities and they will be arrested.
(1/09) Social Platform – Social rights: EU can and should encourage work being done on the ground. The EU is becoming increasingly vocal on social rights. Whether through the European pillar of social rights, rhetoric on harnessing globalisation, or declarations by the Council, it’s undeniable that the EU’s social dimension is currently in the limelight. To push forward its aspirations of reducing inequalities, it’s time for the EU to promote social inclusion as a key element of a strong social – and economic – Europe. One vital aspect of social inclusion is giving people a sense of empowerment, which is what we saw during our fact finding visit to Sweden to meet organisations working on the economic inclusion of low- and medium-skilled migrants. Migrant women in particular face a number of intersecting inequalities, including in areas important to establishing a business such as finance and education. Full article here.
(1/09) Caritas Europa – Caritas Europa: Legal and safe access to Europe is key to ending plague of trafficking in persons. Europe cannot continue to look away from the plague of trafficking. Every child and adult who is trapped in this form of modern-day slavery, framed in fear, abuse and threat, is one victim too many. For many, the idea of returning home from where they fled or even getting killed is more horrendous than remaining in enslavement. For trafficked children, it is even worse; growing up trafficked transforms one’s personality and life reality, as the entrapped state becomes normalised. Europe must put an end to this. Safe and legal pathways to Europe can play a key role in eradicating this criminal activity! Full press release here.