Sunday

20th May 2018

EU to propose new refugee law

The European Commission will next week present a new plan to resettle refugees from outside the EU to member states.

The proposal is part of a larger package on migration and asylum, that will also be adopted.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Speaking to reporters in the Slovak capital Bratislava on Thursday (7 July), EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the EU needs to take its "fair share" of refugees.

He said the commission wants "a structured common system to pool European resettlement efforts more systematically."

Over 16 million people are registered as refugees by the UN's agency for refugees. Many are under 18 years of age.

The figure is dwarfed by some 65.3 million people that have been forced to leave their homes.

Last year, member states agreed to a two year plan to resettle 22,504 refugees from camps in the Middle East, northern Africa, and the Horn of Africa.

They also backed a migrant swap deal with Turkey in March that includes resettling Syrian refugees.

But as of last month, only around 7,200 refugees have so far landed in the EU. Most ended up in the UK, followed by Austria.

Unifying rules

Slovakia, which now heads the rotating EU presidency, has resettled some 50 Christians from Iraq.

Avramopoulos' latest proposal comes ahead of a special UN meeting on migration and refugees in mid-September in New York.

Details of the new scheme are sparse.

But a communication circulated by the commission in April said it will set out EU rules for "admission and distribution".

Avramopoulos didn't expand on the plan but an EU official said the idea is to have one set of resettlement rules throughout the EU.

"Member states have their own procedures for resettlement, which means you can have 28 different systems," said an EU commission official.

The plan is to have one common system by all EU states, including procedures on how to resettle people.

No quotas

Numbers for each member state won't be proposed yet. Instead the plan next week will only spell out specific procedures for deciding figures for refugee distribution.

Dividing up people in need of protection among member states has posed problems in the past.

Slovakia has opposed similar quotas to relocate people in need of international protection that have arrived in Greece and Italy.

Relocation is different from resettlement.

Resettlement concerns UN registered refugees who are living in camps like in Jordan and are then brought to Europe. Relocation deals with people who already arrived in the EU, like in Greece or Italy, and then seek asylum.

Slovakia, for its part, is supposed to relocate several hundred people. As of earlier this month, not one person has been sent to the country.

Along with Hungary, Slovakia has launched a legal challenge at the European Court of Justice on the one-off mandatory quota to help Greece and Italy.

The commission will also next week propose reforms to its EU asylum laws like the directives on reception conditions, qualification, and procedures.

Computer to make EU asylum decisions

The EU commission has presented sweeping reforms of the "Dublin" asylum regulation that include deferring the most painful decisions to a computer in Malta.

Column / Brexit Briefing

The domestic stakes of the UK referendum

City closed Friday in case of Brexit, Cameron gone by Christmas if result close, UKIP surge after defeat: what could happen after the EU referendum.

Feature

Samos: Inside Greece's 'nightmare' EU hotspot

Asylum centres on the Greek islands have borne the brunt of implementing the EU-Turkey deal. The centre on Samos island has struggled more than the others.

EU asks for G7's help on refugees

EU Council president Donald Tusk said the world should show solidarity and help to pay for aid to refugees and encourage regular migration.

Poland 'changing for the worse' for Muslims and refugees

Chechen refugees have been coming to Poland for decades. Tatar Muslims have lived there for centuries. But with the new government trying to whip up fear of foreigners, "things are changing for the worse”.

Opinion

Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny

Most refugee-related services are outsourced to the private sector and NGOs, which are not adequately monitored and evaluated. When governments and EU institutions provide funding for refugee projects, they should scrutinise the NGOs and private players they work with.

Opinion

Calling time on European-Turkish strategic relations

With an Erdogan-Putin summit on Tuesday, joined by Iran on Wednesday, it is time for Europe to face facts - Turkey's ties with the West are no longer strategic. When Europe goes hither, Turkey deliberately goes thither.

News in Brief

  1. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  2. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  3. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  4. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row
  5. EU takes six countries to court over air pollution
  6. New Catalan leader sworn in without reference to Spain
  7. Merkel and Putin revive dialogue in troubled times
  8. European companies putting Iran business on hold

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  2. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  3. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  4. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline
  5. Italian populists to defy EU debt rules
  6. Commission 'playing tricks' with EU budget figures
  7. How France escaped EU legal action over chemical ban
  8. 'Connectivity' trumps enlargement at Balkans summit