Friday

20th Apr 2018

EU proposes to resettle 50,000 African refugees

  • International aid workers in Chad (Photo: ec - Audiovisual Service)

The European Commission is setting aside €500 million to pay member states to resettle 50,000 refugees from Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, and Sudan by late 2019.

EU home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters on Wednesday (27 September) that the move was needed to help curtail irregular migrant flows to Europe.

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.

"I really count on member states to make ambitious pledges," he said. Some 14,000 places among 11 EU states have already been pledged since July for the Africa scheme.

"Europe has to show that it is ready to share responsibility with third countries, notably in Africa. People who are in genuine need of protection should not risk their lives or depend on smugglers," he said.

The EU commission's announcement follows UN calls for an additional 40,000 resettlement spaces in Europe.

But baiting EU states with money "to show solidarity", or some €10,000 for each person resettled, also appears pragmatic given the bloc's track record on migrants.

Altogether, some 39,000 people were resettled from Africa throughout the world for the entire year of 2016.

Of those, only around 1,800 found homes in the EU, of which some 50 ended up in non-EU member state Norway, according to figures provided by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

Not a single person was resettled from Niger in 2016 despite a waiting list of over 11,000. Chad resettled 641, but they all went either to Canada or to the United States.

The global numbers also showed a low level of engagement by EU states.

Last year, the UNHCR said, some 126,000 were resettled worldwide, of which only 13,275 ended up in an EU state, or 17,147 including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Most went to the United States and Canada.

These figures appeared to contradict earlier statements by EU commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, who told MEPs during his recent state-of-the-union address, that EU states last year had "resettled or granted asylum" to three times more people than the United States, Canada, and Australia combined.

Meanwhile, resettlement to the EU from Turkey and the Middle East will continue. Around 23,000 have left refugee camps, mainly from Turkey and Jordan, to settle in an EU state.

"We cannot stop showing solidarity towards these desperate people and the countries hosting them," noted Avramopoulos.

The resettlement plans are voluntary and differ from a separate EU relocation scheme.

Unlike relocation, resettlement refers to people already identified by the UN as refugees and who typically resided in camps outside Europe.

Relocation refers to people who arrive mainly by boat to either Greece or Italy and are then registered as asylum seekers and sent to another member state to process their claim.

In practice, people who end up on the Greek islands are often stuck in a legal limbo given the broad resistance towards relocation in EU states and due to Greek administrative blunders.

Despite fewer new arrivals, many still sleep out in the open and in poor conditions amid reports of violence and self-harm.

The EU's two-year relocation quota scheme, which ended this month, managed to relocate only 29,000 people, given widespread bureaucratic delays, political resistance, and outright boycotts from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.

The main evening news show on Polish state TV on Wednesday hailed the failure of the relocation quotas as a victory for Hungary and Poland in the EU.

It said the voluntary nature of the resettlement scheme meant that the EU commission had given up on its previous idea of forcing member states to take in people against their wishes.

Meanwhile, the EU commission hopes that a long-awaited reform of the so-called Dublin regulation, which determines the member state responsible for an asylum seeker's registration, will now be possible.

"Now that the migratory flows have subsided in Europe, there is once again a window of opportunity to advance the work," said Avramopoulos.

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.

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.

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.

Opinion

EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit

The EU is throwing a lot of money at Sudan to manage migration from the Horn of Africa to Europe - but the upcoming Africa Union-EU summit is a chance to probe Sudan about its own human rights record.

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.

EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints

EU policy and law makers are ironing out final details of a legislative reform on collecting the fingerprints of asylum seekers and refugees, known as Eurodac. The latest plan includes possibly using coercion against minors, which one MEP calls "violence".

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  2. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  3. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  4. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  5. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  6. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists
  7. Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study
  8. Selmayr case scars Parliament and Commission

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  2. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  3. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  4. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  5. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  6. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  7. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  10. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  12. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights