European Commission - Press release
Relocation and Resettlement: Member States need to build on encouraging results
Brussels, 8 February 2017
Today, the Commission adopted its ninth progress report on the EU's emergency relocation and resettlement schemes, assessing actions taken since 8 December 2016.
During the reporting period, Member States have continued to increase their efforts on resettlement offering legal and safe pathways to 13,968 people so far. Regarding relocation, the overall positive trend has also been maintained with an additional 3,813 relocations taking place during the reporting period, and December seeing the highest monthly number so far (1,926). The total number of relocations now stands at 11,966. However, further efforts are still needed from Member States to sustain the progress made and reach the monthly targets set by the Commission of 1,000 relocations from Italy and 2,000 from Greece.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "The past months have seen progress on both relocation and resettlement. But for our efforts to match the scale of the challenge in both the EU frontline Member States as well as our neighbourhood, more needs to be done, and faster. Relocating all those eligible in Italy and Greece is possible but it takes political will, commitment and perseverance of all Member States to make it happen."
During the reporting period, 3,813 additional persons have been relocated, bringing the total number to 11,966 (8,766 from Greece and 3,200 from Italy). While December marked a new record for relocations both from Italy and Greece, with 1,926 people relocated (764 from Italy and 1,162 from Greece), in January, 1,682 persons were relocated (551 from Italy and 1,131 from Greece). In December 2016, the Commission called on Member States individually to increase their efforts to meet the targets of 1,000 monthly relocations from Italy and 2,000 from Greece. Member States and Associated Countries which were already participating actively in the relocation scheme reacted positively to the Commission's call and communicated their planned monthly pledges. Finland for example is well on track to meet its obligation for relocations from Greece (560 out of 1,299 relocated so far) and Italy (359 out of 779). However, significantly increased commitment and delivery is still needed from other Member States, in particular those who still have not started to carry out relocations at all.
The repeated calls for accelerated and steady relocation from Greece and Italy made by the Heads of State or Government of the EU's Member States must be matched with determined action by the competent national services. Member States should build further on the results achieved so far and ensure they pledge and transfer on a stable monthly basis and according to the size of their allocation, thereby delivering on their legal obligations and applying solidarity in practice. The Commission will continue to closely monitor the situation and present its next report in March 2017.
Member States have continued to provide safe and legal avenues to Europe for people in need of international protection with 13,968 of the agreed 22,504 resettled so far under the EU resettlement scheme from July 2015. Since the previous report, 913 people have been resettled mainly from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Resettlements have taken place to 21 resettling States (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). Sweden, the United Kingdom, Finland and Netherlands as well as associated countries Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland have already fulfilled their pledges.
The number of resettlements from Turkey under the EU-Turkey Statement, included in the overall figure of resettlements, has continued to increase and Member States are advancing well with the preparation of further resettlement operations. Since 4 April 2016, 3,098 Syrians have been resettled from Turkey to the EU, including 487 since the previous report. The Turkish authorities are delivering on their promise to step up efforts to provide larger lists of resettlement candidates. Member States should continue delivering on their resettlement commitments, including as part of the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement.
The temporary emergency relocation scheme was established in two Council Decisions in September 2015, in which Member States committed to relocate persons in need of international protection from Italy and Greece. The relocation decisions concern the commitment to relocate 98,255 people, after the Council adopted an amendment to the 2nd Council Decision on relocation on 29 September 2016 to make 54,000 places not yet allocated available for the purpose of legally admitting Syrians from Turkey to the EU.
On 8 June 2015, the Commission adopted a proposal on a European Resettlement Scheme, which was followed by an agreement among the Member States on 20 July 2015 to resettle 22,504 persons in clear need of international protection.
The European Council on 7 March 2016 called for an acceleration of the implementation of relocation, in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Greece. In its conclusions of 20 and 21 October, the European Council reiterated its call for further action to accelerate the implementation of the relocation and resettlement schemes in light of the urgent need to provide support to Greece and Italy. The European Council on 15 December endorsed the Joint Action Plan on the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, which included the relocation target for Greece of 2000 monthly transfers and reiterated its call to further intensify efforts to accelerate relocation, in particular for unaccompanied minors, and existing resettlement schemes.
The EU Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016 provides that for every Syrian being returned from Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU. This principle applies as of 4 April 2016. Priority is given to migrants who have not previously entered or tried to enter the EU irregularly.
The Commission on 13 July 2016 proposed a permanent EU Resettlement Framework to establish a common set of standard procedures for the selection of resettlement candidates and a common protection status for persons resettled to the EU to streamline and better focus European resettlement efforts in the future.
The Commission adopted on 2016 the First Report on Relocation and Resettlement. The Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Reports were adopted respectively on 12 April, 18 May, 15 June,13 July, 28 September, 9 Novemberand 8 December 2016.