Hotspots at EU external borders: State of play

26-06-2018

The 'hotspot approach' was presented by the Commission as part of the European Agenda on Migration of April 2015, when record numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants flocked to the EU. The 'hotspots' – first reception facilities – aim to better coordinate EU agencies' and national authorities' efforts at the external borders of the EU, on initial reception, identification, registration and fingerprinting of asylum-seekers and migrants. Currently, only Greece and Italy host hotspots. Other EU countries can also benefit from the hotspot approach upon request, or in cases where the Commission believes that additional assistance is necessary. As migration continues to be one of the EU's main challenges, the hotspots are a key element of EU support for Greece and Italy to help them face the challenges of the humanitarian and border management crisis. However, reception conditions remain a concern. The majority of the hotspots suffer from overcrowding, and concerns have been raised by stakeholders with regards to camp facilities and living conditions, in particular for vulnerable migrants and asylum-seekers. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for action to ensure that the hotspot approach does not endanger the fundamental rights of asylum-seekers and migrants. The EU-Turkey Statement from March 2016, which is closely linked with the implementation of the hotspot approach in Greece, aims to reduce the irregular migration flows from Turkey to the EU. In parallel, the Commission proposed a temporary emergency relocation mechanism that began in October 2015, to assist the states facing increasing pressure from migrants’ arrivals. This is an updated version of a Briefing drafted by Anita Orav, published in March 2016, PE 579.070.

The 'hotspot approach' was presented by the Commission as part of the European Agenda on Migration of April 2015, when record numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants flocked to the EU. The 'hotspots' – first reception facilities – aim to better coordinate EU agencies' and national authorities' efforts at the external borders of the EU, on initial reception, identification, registration and fingerprinting of asylum-seekers and migrants. Currently, only Greece and Italy host hotspots. Other EU countries can also benefit from the hotspot approach upon request, or in cases where the Commission believes that additional assistance is necessary. As migration continues to be one of the EU's main challenges, the hotspots are a key element of EU support for Greece and Italy to help them face the challenges of the humanitarian and border management crisis. However, reception conditions remain a concern. The majority of the hotspots suffer from overcrowding, and concerns have been raised by stakeholders with regards to camp facilities and living conditions, in particular for vulnerable migrants and asylum-seekers. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for action to ensure that the hotspot approach does not endanger the fundamental rights of asylum-seekers and migrants. The EU-Turkey Statement from March 2016, which is closely linked with the implementation of the hotspot approach in Greece, aims to reduce the irregular migration flows from Turkey to the EU. In parallel, the Commission proposed a temporary emergency relocation mechanism that began in October 2015, to assist the states facing increasing pressure from migrants’ arrivals. This is an updated version of a Briefing drafted by Anita Orav, published in March 2016, PE 579.070.