In a year marked by horrific attacks by armed extremists in Paris in January and November, and a deepening refugee crisis, the European Union and its member states struggled to develop an effective and principled response to the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants who reached Europe. Narrow government interests too often displaced sound policy responses, delaying protection and shelter for vulnerable people and raising questions about the union’s purpose and limits.
European Commission - Press release
Brussels, 25 January 2016
Asylum seekers and other migrants are arriving in Europe and encountering rapidly changing border controls as they seek transit through Europe. The EU has begun implementing its “hotspot” approach for new arrival registration in Italy and Greece, while efforts to increase reception and temporary shelter capacity in Balkan states continue. This is a snapshot of the situation based on available data as of December 14, 2015.
European Commission - Press release
Brussels, 30 November 2015
The European Agenda on Migration adopted by the Commission in May 2015 set out the need for a comprehensive approach to migration management. Since then, a number of measures have been introduced – including the adoption of two emergency schemes to relocate 160,000 people in clear need of international protection from the Member States most affected to other EU Member States, and the endorsement of the Commission Action Plan on Return.
What is the European Agenda on Migration and what is its state of play?
Tackling migration is one of the ten political priorities of this Commission. The European Agenda on Migration develops the political guidelines of President Juncker into tailored initiatives aimed at managing migration better in all its aspects. The Agenda, adopted on 13 May 2015 put forward concrete actions to respond to the immediate crisis and save lives at sea, and proposed structural responses for the medium and long term.
Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus said that Estonia will help to alleviate the situation of the people affected by the earthquake in Nepal with 50 000 euros through the World Health Organization (WHO).
Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus signed a directive confirming Estonia’s support for the alleviation of the situation of internally displaced persons in Ukraine with a total of 200 000 euros through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus signed a directive with which Estonia will allocate 50 000 euros to the UN children’s fund UNICEF to help the children and families of the island nation of Vanuatu following the devastating cyclone.
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is supporting the organisations behind the “For Ukraine!” campaign: the NGO Ukrainian Cultural Centre, NGO Mondo and NGO Estonia Refugee Council with a total of 30 000 euros, providing each of the aforementioned NGOs with 10 000 euros each.
Ukraine - Conflict
Intensive attacks in the eastern Ukraine, including the deadly attacks in Mariupol have caused 5,000 casualties since the beginning of the conflict. Humanitarian needs are also increasing; over 900,000 IDPs and 600,000 refugees to neighbouring countries, mainly to Russia have been reported.
The UK has so far pledged £230 million to help the people of Sierra Leone defeat Ebola. This will build 6 treatment centres across the country, provide food and supplies for thousands of quarantined homes and already has provided over 750 operational beds to isolate and treat cases of Ebola.
As well as giving its own money, Britain has asked other countries across the world to join them in supporting Sierra Leone. So far Norway, Denmark, Cuba, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Canada have all agreed to provide health staff for Sierra Leone.
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Estonia, in cooperation with the United Kingdom, is sending hand sanitizer and antibacterial liquid soap to Sierra Leone to prevent the further spread of Ebola in West Africa. The disinfectants will be introduced at Ebola treatment and prevention centres located in Sierra Leone, whose activities are coordinated by the United Kingdom.
According to Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, the first delivery of Estonian food has arrived at refugee centres in the Odessa region. "The humanitarian situation in Eastern Ukraine is very difficult," Foreign Minister Pentus-Rosimannus said. "Due to the deterioration of the security situation, there are close to 470 000 internally displaced persons in Ukraine. People are in need of food and other basic necessities," she added.
The Foreign Ministry is supporting the alleviation of the humanitarian situation of Iraq’s internally displaced persons with 200 000 euros through the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). The United Nations has declared a higher – third tier level of emergency in Iraq, which requires a broad response to the crisis by UN agencies dealing with humanitarian crises and aid organizations.
The Estonian Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with businesses from the Estonian food industry and the UN Refugee Agency is sending food products as humanitarian aid to the internally displaced persons in Ukraine.
The Estonian food aid sent to the internally displaced persons in Eastern Ukraine will be routed through the Regional Representation of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to IDPs’ collective centres, hospitals, children's institutions and soup kitchens.
Today, at the international Gaza donors conference in Cairo, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that international support must be directed at beginning Israeli-Palestinian talks and accomplishing the two state solution. Estonia is contributing to the reconstruction of Gaza following the recent conflict through the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is supporting victims of gender-based and sexual violence through the Trust Fund for Victims set up by the International Criminal Court.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that Estonia is helping residents of South Sudan who are suffering due to the internal conflict in the country. Assistance is being allocated through UN funds and the International Committee of the Red Cross. "The conflict between the government of South Sudan and the rebels has led to the spread of violence. Almost a million internal refugees are being forced to leave their homes and hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country," Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said. He added that there is also a great shortage of food in South Sudan.