• prevent dangerous journey and loss of life
  • safe and legal path to EU, based on humanitarian needs
  • durable solution
Increase resettlement efforts to prevent dangerous journeys and loss of lives© UNHCR/Giuseppe Carotenuto  

Plans to provide a safe and legal passage to the EU for people in need of international protection were backed on Thursday by the Civil Liberties Committee.

The new law provides for common rules on the admission and transfer of non-EU nationals who seek protection in one of the member states.


Durable solution


The EU resettlement framework provides for safe and legal travel to the EU for stateless people or vulnerable refugees whose need for international protection has been recognised.


MEPs want member states to provide resettled persons with a long-lasting solution, first and foremost by granting refugee status. Member states may grant permanent residence permits. In order to keep family unity, specific family members should be resettled too.


Increasing resettlement to reduce irregular travel


EU member states host 8% of the world’s refugees. In 2015, 22 EU countries resettled 13 000 people; the US resettled almost 70 000 refugees. MEPs therefore call on member states to increase both resettlement efforts and the number of resettlement places in order to shoulder a fair share of global responsibility. They want the EU to take on at least 20% of the annual projected global resettlement needs. In 2017, this would amount to around 250 000 people.


Humanitarian needs and solidarity


The Civil Liberties Committee is pushing for alignment with the UNHCR resettlement programme. Resettlement should not be an instrument for other foreign policy objectives, or be conditional upon cooperation with third countries on other migration-related matters, as initially proposed by the European Commission. Instead, resettlement should be a humanitarian programme and the EU Resettlement programme should be based on the Global Projected Resettlement Needs released by the UNHCR every year.


The UNHCR would be the main institution to refer resettlement cases to member states. Member states and relevant organisations could also make referrals.




Rapporteur Malin Björk (GUE, SE) :


"This vote gives a positive message and shows that the European Parliament stands strong in its support of an EU resettlement programme, based on solidarity and humanitarian needs. This is a major step forward for all of us who have worked to create safe and legal pathways for people in need of international protection,” she said.


EU resettlement plan and financing


Every two years, the EU will adopt its resettlement plan, in consultation with the High-level Resettlement Committee and on the basis of the UNHCR’s annual projections.


The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), which was created in 2014, gives member states 6 000 euros if they resettle someone through their national resettlement programmes. It will provide 10 000 euros per resettled person, if member states resettle under the EU resettlement framework.


The draft regulation was approved by 37 votes to 20, with 2 abstentions.


Next steps


The Parliament is ready to start negotiations with the Council to reach an agreement on the new legislation. The negotiating mandate was adopted by 43 votes to 14, but still needs approval from the full House.

Quick facts


The proposal is part of the Commission's reform of the Common European Asylum System and strategy on better migration management set out by the European Agenda on Migration.

Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure)