Saturday

26th May 2018

EU deadline on refugee pledges misses mark

  • Avramopoulos (r) is set to unveil migrant proposal at the end of September. (Photo: European Commission)

A looming deadline for the EU states to commit to their pledges on how many refugees they will resettle appears to have shifted.

The EU commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, told reporters in Brussels that he had pressed interior ministers on Thursday (14 September) to come forward with numbers ahead of a deadline initially set during the summer.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Asked if the Friday (15 September) deadline would be met and whether he was happy with pledges he had received so far - if any - he said the issue would be discussed at the end this month, when the EU commission plans to unveil new migration proposals.

"Encouraging new resettlement commitments will be part of a new migration package that will be presented later this month," he said.

Avramopoulos's comments follow statements by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg early in the week, where he backed UN calls for an additional 40,000 resettlement spaces in Europe.

"Irregular migration will only stop if there is a real alternative to perilous journey," Juncker told MEPs during his state of the union address on Wednesday.

Juncker had also pointed out that EU states last year had "resettled or granted asylum" to over 720,000 refugees - or three times as many as the United States, Canada and Australia combined.

But the figure raises some questions, in terms of resettlement, given that of the 125,835 resettled refugees worldwide in 2016, only 13,275 found a home in an EU member state. A resettled person is someone in need of protection who is brought to the EU from outside Europe.

EU states avoid Africa

The commission wants EU states to take in more people from places like Egypt, Libya, Niger, Ethiopia and Sudan and had set Friday as a deadline to receive spaces for their arrival.

For the past few years, EU states have trailed behind the rest of the world in terms of resettlements from Africa.

Of the almost 39,000 people resettled from Africa last year, only around 1,800 ended up in Europe. The vast majority went to United States, followed by Canada and Australia.

The UN refugee agency call for extra pledges on top of the EU commission demands announced over the summer.

The commission in July had said that it would pay member states €10,000 for every person resettled, capping the fund at €377.5 million - or enough for 37,750 people.

Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Niger and Sudan are among the priority countries in the commission's grand resettlement campaign.

But while EU states have resettled some 17,000 people since 2015, most do not come from Africa.

Around 8,800 are Syrian nationals coming from Turkey, with others arriving from Lebanon, Jordan and, to a lesser extent, Egypt.

Niger - through which the vast majority of migrants travel to reach Libya - has only resettled one person since 2015. Similar figures are cited for Bukino Faso and Mali.

Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, said on Monday that the "response has been very far from adequate."

He noted that only 6,700 refugees along the routes to Libya had been resettled so far this year.

EU to step up migrant returns

After Juncker's state of the union speech, the EU Commission is set to propose many new measures on migration before the end of the year, with an emphasis on returns, legal routes, and "solidarity" with African states.

Asylum seekers create EU 'limbo' nation

The number of asylum seekers "in limbo" in the EU is likely to be greater than the combined populations of Cyprus and Malta, estimates indicate.

MEPs propose taking in over 200,000 refugees

MEPs in the civil liberties committee voted in favour of taking in more refugees than the Commission wants to or than member states are likely to accept.

Feature

Syrians find troubled homes in Egypt

Despite EU aid, Syrian families are finding it difficult to integrate into Egyptian society, with reports now emerging that some Syrian girls are subjected to genital mutilation.

Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund

The European Commission wants to triple the amount of money for migration in the next EU budget. Earlier this week, EU agencies, NGOs, and the mayor of Athens gave their views at a European parliament public hearing.

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. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

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