The EU takes in only 4,500 out of the 200,000 refugees that need resettling in the world each year, but aims to do more by setting up a joint resettlement programme under the European Refugee Fund. The new 2013 programme will encourage member states to get involved by providing them with a fixed amount of money for each person resettled. MEPs will debate the initiative in plenary on Wednesday and vote on it on Thursday. The civil liberties committee recommends approving it.
If the Parliament endorses the programme, member states will have until 1 May 2012 to send the European Commission an estimate of the number of people they will resettle next year. Member states that receive funding from the European Refugee Fund for the first time will receive €6,000 for every person resettled. Those that have used the fund only once get €5,000 and all others €4,000 per person. Ireland and Denmark will not participate in the joint resettlement programme for 2013.
Portuguese Green MEP Rui Tavares, who is steering the programme through Parliament, said: "Our strategic geographic priorities will ensure that EU can act to prevent and/or solve crises in critical regions of the world." He added: "However money alone will not be sufficient and in our initiative report we have many proposals for sharing human resources and exchanging good practices that will help provide a constructive framework for member states to increase numbers of resettled refugees."
The EP and the Council have agreed on a list of vulnerable groups and the regions they can come from that are eligible for taking part in the programme. The priority groups include children and women at risk, unaccompanied minors, survivors of violence and torture and people with serious medical needs that can be addressed only if they are resettled.
Mr Tavarres said: "This means that unaccompanied minors can finally leave the refugee camp and go to school. That people with medical conditions that can only be addressed after being resettled will finally get a treatment. That survivors of violence and torture can get rehabilitation and finally that women and children at risk will also be able to find a new life."
200,000 refugees in the world need resettlement each year
Only half of them are resettled
80,000 of them are resettled in the US
Canada and Australia are involved with resettlement as are new actors such as Brazil and Chile
EU has so far resettled 4,500 refugees each year