Friday

26th Feb 2021

UN asks Europe to relocate more refugees

  • The Zaatari refugee camp on Syria-Jordan border has become a city of more than 140,00 people (Photo: EUobserver)

The United Nations' refugee agency (UNHCR) called on European countries on Tuesday (8 September) to guarantee relocation for 200,000 refugees, shortly before EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was expected to unveil a plan for the relocation of 160,000 refugees.

“We believe it should be 200,000, that's the number we believe need relocation in European countries”, UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming said, according to Al Jazeera.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

She called for “EU-led mega-reception centres” in Greece, Italy, and Hungary, where most of the people have arrived.

Her comments came on the same day that German chancellor Angela Merkel called Juncker's plan “an important first step” but also noted that the figure may need to be higher as the situation on the ground evolves.

“There is another step that needs to be taken because neither Germany nor Sweden can determine the number of refugees, given that it stems from the [ever-evolving] situation”, Merkel said in Berlin, after a visit from her Swedish colleague prime minister Stefan Lofven.

Germany and Sweden have accepted a disproportionately larger share of asylum applications than their EU counterparts.

The UNHCR called on the EU “to take a common approach and [take] bold steps in managing the current refugee crisis better”.

“Countries have to show solidarity with the world's most vulnerable population, who come in search of safety in Europe. No country can be left to deal with the issue single-handedly”, the agency said in a press release.

In another document, the UNHCR gave some updated information on expected arrivals, saying that 400,000 people are expected to arrive via the Mediterranean by the end of 2015. 366,000 have arrived so far.

“In 2016 this number could reach 450,000 or more,” the UNHCR said.

Another 150,000 have until now travelled to Hungary via Serbia, with a majority of them originating from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The UN noted that the influx of refugees from war-torn Syria was to be expected, and that only 37 percent of funding that was pledged to Syria's neighbouring countries to help refugees there, has been provided so far.

“Since last year trends have been very clear, as we were trying to convey to the countries in Europe that more refugees will be on the move in [the] wake of dwindling support for them in Syria's neighbourhood. We were not heard and as we see today, Europe is unprepared for those arriving to seek international protection in Europe”, the UNHCR said.

Frontex embroiled in new transparency case

Last October, Der Spiegel published an investigation into illegal pushbacks off the Greek islands, implicating the EU's border agency Frontex. Journalists asked Frontex to release location data of its vessels, so has an MEP - without success.

UN agency demands EU stop violence against migrants

The International Organization for Migration, an inter-governmental body related to the UN, is demanding the EU and member states put an end to illegal expulsions of people seeking asylum.

News in Brief

  1. Rights group exposes Ethiopia massacre
  2. US carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Syria
  3. Malta closes investigation into journalist murder
  4. Dutch parliament calls China treatment of Uighurs genocide
  5. Spain fined €15m by ECJ over data failures
  6. Belarus: Anti-government protester jailed for 10 years
  7. German charged with spying for Russia in Bundestag
  8. Heavy earthquakes in Iceland trigger volcanic activity

EU Parliament pressing for inquiry into Frontex

MEPs are drumming up support for an inquiry into the EU's controversial border and coast guard agency, Frontex. So far, the Greens, the left-wing GUE, and Renew Europe are on board - amid expectations the centre-left S&D will also join.

Turkey snubs Greece on migrant returnees

The Greek government last week requested that the European Commission and EU border agency Frontex help return 1,450 failed asylum seekers to Turkey. Turkey has refused, citing the pandemic.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. Armenia 'coup' shows waning of EU star in South Caucasus
  2. 'Difficult weeks' ahead, as variants spread across EU
  3. EU top court advised to strike down Hungary's asylum policy
  4. Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency
  5. Is EU poised to solve child labour in 'green' batteries?
  6. The trap of spreading ideas while attacking them
  7. Who are the EU's new Russian deplorables?
  8. Afghan asylum family beaten in Greece, set adrift at sea

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us