InfoFlash from Europe

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.

Updates to 24.9.2019

(18/09) Humanitarian aid: over €34 million in African Great Lakes region. The European Commission has announced €34.275 million in humanitarian funding to help the most vulnerable people in the Great Lakes region in Africa. The aid will mainly help address urgent humanitarian needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo and provide continued support to Burundian refugees in the region. Full press release here.

(10/09) The von der Leyen Commission: for a Union that strives for more. Today, President-elect Ursula von der Leyen presented her team and the new structure of the next European Commission. The new Commission will reflect the priorities and ambitions set out in the Political Guidelines. The Commission is structured around the objectives President-elect von der Leyen was elected on by the European Parliament. At the heart of our work is the need to address the changes in climate, technology and demography that are transforming our societies and way of life. Existing powers are going down new paths alone. New powers are emerging and consolidating. This has left a feeling of unease and anxiety in many communities across Europe. The EU must lead the transition to a healthy planet and a new digital world. But it can only do so by bringing people together and upgrading our unique social market economy to fit today’s new ambitions. As we embark on this journey, we must make the most of all of our strengths, talent and potential. We must focus on equality and creating chances for all, whether for women or men, whether from East, West, South or North, whether young or old. We must defend our common values and uphold the rule of law. In the next 5 years all of the European institutions have to work together closely to allay fears and create opportunities. Full press release here.

Mission letter – High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy/Vice-Presidentdesignate of the European Commission

Mission letter – Commissioner-designate for International Partnerships

Mission letter – Commissioner-designate for Neighbourhood and Enlargement

Mission letter – Commissioner-designate for Home Affairs

Mission letter – Commissioner-designate for Equality

Mission letter – Commissioner-designate for Justice

Mission letter – Commissioner-designate for Cohesion and Reforms

Mission letter – Commissioner-designate for Jobs

Mission letter – Vice-President-designate for Protecting our European Way of Life

(24/08) EU announces record €550 million contribution to save 16 million lives from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Today, the EU announced a €550 million pledge to The Global Fund during the G7 summit in Biarritz. The Fund is an international partnership to fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria around the world. Its work has already saved 27 million lives since it was created in 2002. Full press release here.

(7/08) Humanitarian Aid: additional €50 million to tackle drought in the Horn of Africa. The European Commission is mobilising a further €50 million in emergency humanitarian funding to help the people hit by drought in the Horn of Africa. With many in the region relying on livestock herding and subsistence farming, the prolonged drought is having devastating consequences on food availability and livelihoods. Today’s additional funding brings total EU humanitarian aid to the region to €366.5 million since 2018. Full press release here.

(6/08) Commission provides 20 cities with funding for innovative security, digital, environmental and inclusion projects. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will finance 20 urban projects with €82 million. These projects were put forward by cities under the 4th call for proposals of the Urban Innovative Actions which is implemented by French region Hauts-de-France. In particular, Piraeus (Greece), Tampere (Finland) and Turin (Italy) will receive grants for projects that will protect and reduce the vulnerability of public spaces, in line with the 2017 Action Plan under the Security Union. The EU funding will also support innovative solutions in digital transition, in responsible urban land use and in the fight against poverty in 17 other cities. Full press release here.

(6/08) Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €127 million to boost EU’s largest ever humanitarian programme. To ensure refugees continue to be supported by the EU’s largest humanitarian programme in Turkey, the Commission has today announced an additional €127 million to the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) programme via the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey. This new funding brings the total EU contribution to the programme to €1.125 billion. Full press release here.

(5/08) Spring 2019 Standard Eurobarometer: Europeans upbeat about the state of the European Union – best results in 5 years. A new Eurobarometer survey released today shows a strong increase in citizens’ positive perception of the European Union across the board – from the economy to the state of democracy. These are the best results since the June 2014 Eurobarometer survey conducted before the Juncker Commission took office. This latest Standard Eurobarometer survey was conducted after the European elections, between 7 June and 1 July 2019 in all 28 EU countries and five candidate countries. Amongst the main findings are a record-high support for the euro and climate change turning into the second top concern at EU level, after immigration. Full press release here.

(3/09) 2020 EU budget: Council supports continued focus on growth, innovation, security and migration. The Council wants the EU’s budget to continue to focus on strengthening the European economy and boosting its competitiveness. Other priorities include ensuring sufficient funding for migration and the protection of the EU’s external borders, strengthening civil protection, tackling climate change and providing adequate resources for external action in line with the EU’s strategic interests. As in previous years, member states also insist on budgetary prudence and discipline. They want to ensure sufficient leeway in the budget to allow the EU to react to unforeseen needs. These principles guide the Council’s position on the 2020 EU budget, adopted today. Full press release here.

(18/09) FRA – Children’s best interests take priority in migrant returns. Last year, almost 20,000 unaccompanied children sought asylum in the EU; some inevitably have to leave. FRA’s latest focus paper guides national authorities when deciding whether to return children, not accompanied by parents, to their home countries to ensure compliance with EU and international law. The Returning unaccompanied children: fundamental rights considerations focus paper looks at children who are not with their parent or primary carer and may be subject to return procedures. Full press release here.

(17/09) EASO – Asylum applications up by 26% in July, but remain dramatically lower than during the 2015-2016 crisis. In July 2019, the monthly number of applications for international protection lodged in the 30 EU+ countries (European Union Member States plus Norway and Switzerland) reached approximately 62,900, a 26% increase compared to June. This is slightly higher than in July 2018 (59,375) and roughly the same as in July 2017 (62,040). Since the start of the year, some 400,500 applications were lodged in the EU+, up by 11% compared to the same period of 2018. This increase has roughly remained uniform throughout 2019, suggesting that this year’s increases when compared to 2018 are stable so far, broadly returning to 2017 levels. These levels remain dramatically lower than during the 2015-2016 migration crisis. July 2016 saw almost 122,000 applications in the EU+. Syrians, Afghans and Venezuelans lodged a quarter of all applications. Full press release here.

(12/09) FRA – Women-friendly measures to drive better migrant integration. Migrant women face multiple challenges fully integrating into European society. This is often due to inequalities resulting from the combined effect of their gender, migrant status and ethnic background, as FRA’s latest report testifies. It underlines the need for targeted, gender-sensitive measures to compensate for such inequalities. Full press release here.

(18/08) FRA – Give migrant youth a chance. Across the EU, various promising initiatives have sprung up to support young migrants become part of European society, following the large-scale influx of migrants and refugees to the EU. Marking International Youth Day on 12 August, FRA draws attention to their situation and urges Member States to do more to help them fully integrate. Across the EU, various promising initiatives have sprung up to support young migrants become part of European society, following the large-scale influx of migrants and refugees to the EU. Marking International Youth Day on 12 August, FRA draws attention to their situation and urges Member States to do more to help them fully integrate. Full press release here.

(20/09) ECRE – Op-ed: The Birth Defect of EU Migration Diplomacy. Prevention of migration to Europe, especially from Africa, was a priority of the previous Commission and, as it looks, likely to remain as such for the new Commission. This makes it increasingly difficult for refugees to find protection. And it is becoming increasingly dangerous for migrant workers to reach places where they can seek income. But that is not the only consequence. The more Europe tries to control migration, the more difficult it becomes for many Africans to move freely within their own continent, even within their own country. Full press release here.

(20/09) ECRE – Op-ed: Libya: Humanitarian Solutions Won’t Solve Political Problems. A new evacuation plan to fly out migrants to Rwanda from Libya, recently announced, offers a way out for some individuals but for the majority the well-documented abuse and torture in Libya is still the reality. Talk of the new evacuation scheme reportedly started following the deadly airstrikes of the Tajoura Detention Centre in July this year, which led to the death of more than forty refugees and other migrants. Full press release here.

(13/09) ECRE – Germany: Integration of Refugees into Labour Market Deemed Success – with Limitations. The German government’s commissioner for integration, Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU), announced that the integration of refugees into the German labour market over the last four years was more successful than predicted by experts. However, only 13% employed are female and two thirds earned below the low-wage threshold in 2018. Full press release here.

(11/09) TheGuardian – Leak suggests UN agency self-censors on climate crisis after US pressure. Leaked communications suggest that the UN’s migration agency is censoring itself on the climate crisis and the global compact on migration, following pressure from the US government. An email sent by a US-based official of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on 28 August to colleagues around the world relayed that the US state department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) told the agency documents related to programme activities it funds “must not be in conflict with current [US government] political sensitivities”. Full article here.

(5/09) ECRE – UNHCR: Despite Progress Less than Half of Refugee Children in Education. The report “Stepping Up: Refugee Education in Crisis” by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, found that less than half of the 7.1 million refugee children of school age go to school. UNHCR calls upon national education systems to adapt a more flexible approach that provides inclusive access to education, which is sensitive to the situation of refugees. Full press release here.

(5/09) ECRE – Sweden: Migration Agency Declares Parts of Syria Safe. In a new legal assessment the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) states that the security situation in parts of Syria has improved. On those grounds the agency announces the end of automatic residency to all Syrian asylum seekers, which was introduced in 2013 based on the general risk in the country. Full press release here.

(30/08) ECRE – Report on Illegal Pushback and Border Violence. The Border Violence Monitoring Network has published a report which includes updates and a summary of recent policy developments related to violence and practices of push-backs at the borders of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia and Serbia. Full press release here.

(30/08) ECRE – The Dublin System in the First Half of 2019. The implementation of the Dublin III Regulation continues to be fraught by inefficiency and questionable compliance with legal standards, according to statistics on 15 European countries published by AIDA, managed by ECRE. Full press release here.