169

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Reform of the Dublin system

30-09-2020

The refugee and migrant crisis in Europe has exposed the need for reform of the Common European Asylum System, in general, and of the Dublin rules, in particular. The Commission’s proposal of 4 May 2016 to reform the Dublin system would not change the existing criteria for determining which Member State is responsible for examining an asylum application. Instead of a fundamental overhaul of the Dublin regime, as suggested by Parliament, the Commission proposed to streamline and supplement the current ...

The refugee and migrant crisis in Europe has exposed the need for reform of the Common European Asylum System, in general, and of the Dublin rules, in particular. The Commission’s proposal of 4 May 2016 to reform the Dublin system would not change the existing criteria for determining which Member State is responsible for examining an asylum application. Instead of a fundamental overhaul of the Dublin regime, as suggested by Parliament, the Commission proposed to streamline and supplement the current rules with a corrective allocation mechanism. This mechanism would be triggered automatically were a Member State to be faced with disproportionate numbers of asylum-seekers. If a Member State decided not to accept the allocation of asylum-seekers from another one under pressure, a ‘solidarity contribution’ per applicant would have to be made instead. An agreement on the balance between responsibility and solidarity regarding the distribution of asylum-seekers will be a cornerstone for the new EU asylum policy. Although Parliament’s LIBE committee adopted its positon in autumn 2017, the Council has been unable to reach a position on the proposal. Third edition of a briefing originally drafted by Detelin Ivanov. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Hotspots at EU external borders: State of play

25-09-2020

The 'hotspot approach' was presented by the European Commission as part of the European Agenda on Migration in April 2015, when record numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants flocked to the EU. The 'hotspots' – first reception facilities – aim to improve coordination of the EU agencies' and national authorities' efforts at the external borders of the EU, in the initial reception, identification, registration and fingerprinting of asylum-seekers and migrants. Even though other Member ...

The 'hotspot approach' was presented by the European Commission as part of the European Agenda on Migration in April 2015, when record numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants flocked to the EU. The 'hotspots' – first reception facilities – aim to improve coordination of the EU agencies' and national authorities' efforts at the external borders of the EU, in the initial reception, identification, registration and fingerprinting of asylum-seekers and migrants. Even though other Member States also have the possibility to benefit from the hotspot approach, only Greece and Italy host hotspots. In Greece, the hotspot approach remains the key strategy in addressing migratory pressures. The EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016, closely linked to the implementation of the hotspot approach in Greece, led to a considerable drop in irregular migration flows from Turkey to the EU. However, returns of irregular migrants to Turkey – a cornerstone of the agreement – are low. The deteriorating relationship between Turkey and the EU is putting the agreement under increasing pressure. The hotspot approach was also set up to contribute to the temporary emergency relocation mechanisms that – between September 2015 and September 2017 – helped to transfer asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU Member States. Even though 96 % of the people eligible had been relocated by the end of March 2018, relocation numbers were far from the targets originally set and the system led to tensions with Czechia, Hungary and Poland, which refused to comply with the mechanism. Since their inception, the majority of the hotspots have suffered from overcrowding, and concerns have been raised by stakeholders with regard to camp facilities and living conditions – in particular for vulnerable migrants and asylum-seekers – and to gaps in access to asylum procedures. These shortcomings cause tensions among the migrants and with local populations and have already led to violent protests. On 8 September 2020, a devastating fire in the Moria camp, on Lesvos, only aggravated the existing problems. The European Parliament has called repeatedly for action to ensure that the hotspot approach does not endanger the fundamental rights of asylum-seekers and migrants. This briefing updates two earlier ones published in March 2016 and in June 2018.

Brexit: Towards the end-game [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-09-2020

There is now growing doubt about possible progress on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has tabled a bill on the internal market within the country, which contains provisions relating to the border between Northen Ireland and the rest of the UK that violate the agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and would thus constitute a breach of international law. The European Parliament has already indicated that it would ...

There is now growing doubt about possible progress on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has tabled a bill on the internal market within the country, which contains provisions relating to the border between Northen Ireland and the rest of the UK that violate the agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and would thus constitute a breach of international law. The European Parliament has already indicated that it would not be able to ratify any post-Brexit EU-UK trade agreement, if such arrengements were to be adopted. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on numerous challenges facing the UK, EU and their future ties after their divorce.

Unaccompanied migrant children in Greece: New relocation scheme

15-05-2020

In response to increased migratory pressure in Greece along the EU's external border with Turkey in recent months, and following the Greek government's request for support under Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the European Commission has launched a new relocation scheme to speed up the relocation of unaccompanied minors from the Greek islands to other EU Member States. Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, who has been entrusted with taking this ...

In response to increased migratory pressure in Greece along the EU's external border with Turkey in recent months, and following the Greek government's request for support under Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the European Commission has launched a new relocation scheme to speed up the relocation of unaccompanied minors from the Greek islands to other EU Member States. Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, who has been entrusted with taking this process forward, will also work in coordination with the Greek government and stakeholders to find sustainable ways to ensure that unaccompanied minors staying in the first-line reception and identification centres ('hotspots') on the Greek islands receive the care and protection they are entitled to. Regardless of a child's reasons for migrating, their situation or status, they all are first and foremost children and have rights as such. Unaccompanied children or children who have been separated from their parents along the way, are, moreover, entitled to special protection under international human rights and European Union asylum law. All too often, however, their rights and needs are neglected. Human rights organisations have repeatedly denounced the precarious and difficult conditions in which unaccompanied minors are living in the Greek hotspots. The proposed relocation initiative is urgently needed. However, the ongoing political and academic debate also shows a clear need for more structural solutions, in the form of more solidarity and responsibility-sharing among EU Member States, and a coordinated, child rights-based approach to addressing the many protection gaps unaccompanied children face when arriving in Europe.

Tackling the coronavirus outbreak: Impact on asylum-seekers in the EU

22-04-2020

To curb the spread of coronavirus and to protect their populations, the EU and its Member States have restricted crossings of their external borders, and many internal EU borders, as well as restricted freedom of movement within their territory. These steps have also served to address the challenges the pandemic has posed to public order, public health and national security. However, the resulting restrictions on people's movement and access to EU territory could disproportionately affect the most ...

To curb the spread of coronavirus and to protect their populations, the EU and its Member States have restricted crossings of their external borders, and many internal EU borders, as well as restricted freedom of movement within their territory. These steps have also served to address the challenges the pandemic has posed to public order, public health and national security. However, the resulting restrictions on people's movement and access to EU territory could disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, among them asylum-seekers-already in the EU or trying to reach its territory to seek asylum. The situation of asylum-seekers during the current pandemic is especially critical in the EU hotspots; Greece, for instance, whose reception capacity has been stretched to the limit, is struggling to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable asylum-seekers, especially unaccompanied minors. While the EU has been assisting Greece to protect stranded asylum-seekers, NGOs and international organisations as well as the European Parliament have called for greater efforts to improve their living conditions and ensure the preventive evacuation of those at high risk. Several Member States have adopted emergency measures to deal with the pandemic. To protect public health, they have closed their external borders and ports to asylum-seekers, suspended asylum procedures and returns, and imposed mandatory confinement in asylum reception centres to restrict freedom of movement. All those measures risk having a negative impact on asylum-seekers' fundamental rights under EU and international law.

Amending Budget No 1/2020: Support to Greece to face migration pressure, measures to fight coronavirus and reconstruction assistance to Albania

15-04-2020

Draft Amending Budget No 1/2020 (DAB 1/2020) would provide additional funds to help address the needs arising from the increased migration pressures in Greece, assist Member States to limit the impact of the coronavirus outbreak through meeting needs for equipment and medical products, and contribute to Albania's post-earthquake reconstruction. The European Parliament is expected to vote, under the urgent procedure, on the Council position on DAB 1/2020 during the 16-17 April plenary session.

Draft Amending Budget No 1/2020 (DAB 1/2020) would provide additional funds to help address the needs arising from the increased migration pressures in Greece, assist Member States to limit the impact of the coronavirus outbreak through meeting needs for equipment and medical products, and contribute to Albania's post-earthquake reconstruction. The European Parliament is expected to vote, under the urgent procedure, on the Council position on DAB 1/2020 during the 16-17 April plenary session.

Outcome of European Council video-conference of 26 March 2020

30-03-2020

On 26 March, EU Heads of State or Government continued their joint coordination efforts to address the COVID-19 outbreak and held a six hour long video conference on this subject, but failed to agree on the adequate financing instruments to help countries in fiscal difficulty due to the crisis, The President of the European Parliament President, David Sassoli, strongly criticised the results of the European Council and ‘the short-sightedness and selfishness of some governments’.EU leaders asked the ...

On 26 March, EU Heads of State or Government continued their joint coordination efforts to address the COVID-19 outbreak and held a six hour long video conference on this subject, but failed to agree on the adequate financing instruments to help countries in fiscal difficulty due to the crisis, The President of the European Parliament President, David Sassoli, strongly criticised the results of the European Council and ‘the short-sightedness and selfishness of some governments’.EU leaders asked the President of the Commission and the President of the European Council to start working on a Roadmap accompanied by an Action Plan to prepare an exit strategy and a comprehensive recovery plan, including unprecedented investment.

Outcome of the video-conference call of EU Heads of State or Government on 17 March 2020

23-03-2020

On 17 March, the members of the European Council held a video-conference concerning the measures taken to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. European leaders felt the need for a coordinated approach, as individual They followed up on the four lines of action to contain the spread of the disease agreed at their video-meeting on 10 March, and discussed more in depth the EU’s external and internal border management.

On 17 March, the members of the European Council held a video-conference concerning the measures taken to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. European leaders felt the need for a coordinated approach, as individual They followed up on the four lines of action to contain the spread of the disease agreed at their video-meeting on 10 March, and discussed more in depth the EU’s external and internal border management.

Emergency measures on migration: Article 78(3) TFEU

06-03-2020

Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides for the adoption of provisional measures in emergency migratory situations at the EU's external borders. It was first used during the 2015 migration crisis. On the basis of that article, the Council of the EU adopted binding decisions providing for the relocation from Italy and Greece of 160 000 people so as to ensure a fair and balanced distribution of, and sharing of responsibility for, asylum-seekers who were ...

Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides for the adoption of provisional measures in emergency migratory situations at the EU's external borders. It was first used during the 2015 migration crisis. On the basis of that article, the Council of the EU adopted binding decisions providing for the relocation from Italy and Greece of 160 000 people so as to ensure a fair and balanced distribution of, and sharing of responsibility for, asylum-seekers who were already present in the EU. However, despite most Member States' willingness to relocate asylum-seekers, some challenged the Council's decision before the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) or refused to help implement the decision. On 1 March 2020, in the light of events on its Turkish border, Greece announced that it wanted Article 78(3) TFEU to be used to ensure full EU support in the situation of a sudden influx of third-country nationals into the EU.

Migration and border management: Heading 4 of the 2021-2027 MFF

23-01-2020

The Treaty of Lisbon makes explicit reference to pooling financial resources to support common policies on asylum, immigration and external borders. While expenditure for these policy areas still represents a minor share of the EU budget, it has recently increased in the wake of the 2015-2016 refugee crisis. Since the resources available under the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) of the EU proved insufficient to address the crisis, EU institutions had to use the flexibility provisions ...

The Treaty of Lisbon makes explicit reference to pooling financial resources to support common policies on asylum, immigration and external borders. While expenditure for these policy areas still represents a minor share of the EU budget, it has recently increased in the wake of the 2015-2016 refugee crisis. Since the resources available under the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) of the EU proved insufficient to address the crisis, EU institutions had to use the flexibility provisions of the MFF extensively. Given the increasing salience of the policy areas, the European Commission has proposed the establishment of a specific heading devoted to migration and border management worth €30.8 billion (2018 prices) in the 2021-2027 MFF. As compared with the current period, these allocations would represent a significant increase in relative terms, especially as regards border management. The heading would finance two funding instruments, the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) and the Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF), as well as the activities of relevant EU decentralised agencies, such as the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the European Asylum Support Office. By designing these new funds, the European Commission seeks to improve synergies with other EU funding instruments and increase capacity to react to evolving needs. Negotiations for the MFF package are very complex, involving different legislative procedures for the adoption of the overall MFF and the sector-specific instruments. The European Parliament, the Council and the European Council are working on the proposals, which have also triggered reactions from other stakeholders, including academics, think-tanks and commentators.

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