Friday

3rd Feb 2023

EU countries offered €6,000 per head to take in refugees

  • Syrian woman crossing the border with one-month old son on 1 May (Photo: UNHCR)

The European Commission is proposing to pay EU countries €6,000 for each UN-registered refugee which they agree to resettle.

The idea, announced by the European Commission on Wednesday (4 December), is part of a package designed to stop people dying on sea crossings and being exploited by human traffickers.

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

It is aimed at the Syria crisis. Over 2 million Syrians are registered refugees, many of them living in overcrowded camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

The EU resettled 5,000 of them last year.

It also gave some form of asylum to 90 percent of the 20,000 or so Syrians who made their own way to Europe.

By comparison, the US resettled 50,000.

EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told press: "This is the single most efficient short-term measures that member states can do to help and to avoid for these very vulnerable people to take the dangerous route over the Mediterranean."

Other measures announced Wednesday include giving the EU's joint police agency, Europol, an extra €400,000 a year to target people smugglers.

The commission is to give €30 million to Italy and €20 million to other member states to improve conditions for asylum seekers.

It also says its border control agency, Frontex, needs an additional €14 million to co-ordinate sea patrols.

Frontex told this website the money would be used to expand existing operations in Greece and Italy only.

Disembarkation dispute

There are plenty of thorny questions - for instance, who takes in migrants which are rescued by Frontex? - in EU migration talks.

The commission in April put out guidelines that say whichever EU country is hosting the Frontex operation involved should take them in.

But Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain say migrants should be taken to the nearest port.

A Maltese official told EUobserver the EU guidelines "make no sense." He noted that if a Malta-hosted Frontex boat rescued someone next to Lampedusa, an Italian island, it would take them two days to reach Malta instead of dropping them off at an Italian port.

Frontex said its boats only do patrols in their host country's maritime zone.

Humanitarian visas

Another thorny question is "humanitarian visas."

EU countries generally decline to grant asylum to people who apply at their foreign consulates, a practice which leads some of them to make their own way to the EU border to file claims.

But the commission is exploring the idea of granting humanitarian visas to let people in need enter the EU legally and safely.

A commission official said member states fear creating a "pull factor," however. Malmstrom noted "there is very little enthusiasm" for the scheme.

The broad EU effort is designed to prevent disasters such as Lampedusa in October, when more than 350 people drowned.

“After Lampedusa, there were very strong words in the European Union. Still, it happened. And it is likely to happen again,” Malmstrom warned.

Opinion

Smarter policies needed to end migrant deaths

Why do migrants risk their lives and the lives of their families when the best that awaits them is a frosty welcome? The answer is simple: desperation.

Opinion

Why the new ECHR Ukraine-Russia ruling matters

The ECHR ruled that Russia was in "effective control" of separatist regions of Eastern Ukraine from 11 May 2014. In doing so, the court has formally acknowledged the inter-state character of the conflict and Russia's culpability for human rights abuses.

Opinion

Greece's spy scandal must shake us out of complacency

The director of Amnesty International Greece on the political spying scandal that now threatens to bring down prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Activists and NGO staff work with the constant fear that they are being spied on.

Latest News

  1. Greece faces possible court over 'prison-like' EU-funded migration centres
  2. How the centre-right can take on hard-right and win big in 2024
  3. Top EU officials show Ukraine solidarity on risky trip
  4. MEPs launch anonymous drop-box for shady lobbying secrets
  5. Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'
  6. MEPs push for greater powers for workers' councils
  7. How Pavel won big as new Czech president — and why it matters
  8. French official to take on Islamophobia in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us