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Asylum, Migration & Integration Fund 2021-2027

01-07-2021

As part of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the Commission adopted a proposal for a new regulation establishing the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF). The aim of the proposal is to contribute to the efficient management of migration flows in the European Union. The European Parliament is due to vote at second reading during the July plenary session on the agreed text resulting from interinstitutional negotiations.

As part of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the Commission adopted a proposal for a new regulation establishing the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF). The aim of the proposal is to contribute to the efficient management of migration flows in the European Union. The European Parliament is due to vote at second reading during the July plenary session on the agreed text resulting from interinstitutional negotiations.

Community sponsorship schemes under the new pact on migration and asylum: Take-up by EU regions and cities

18-06-2021

The number of people in the world that are forcibly displaced inside or outside their home country has risen significantly in recent years, as also showcased by the unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU since 2015. This highlights an urgent need to ensure organised, legal and safe pathways for protecting migrants who embark on dangerous journeys in an attempt to enter countries of destination irregularly, or find themselves in protracted refugee situations. A potential ...

The number of people in the world that are forcibly displaced inside or outside their home country has risen significantly in recent years, as also showcased by the unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU since 2015. This highlights an urgent need to ensure organised, legal and safe pathways for protecting migrants who embark on dangerous journeys in an attempt to enter countries of destination irregularly, or find themselves in protracted refugee situations. A potential solution is the community sponsorship scheme, understood as encompassing several different approaches for refugee admission to third countries other than countries of origin or transit. The concept includes a shared responsibility between civil society and the state when engaging in refugee admission efforts, by providing financial, emotional, social and/or settlement support to help newly arrived refugees integrate in a third country. Community sponsorship for integration is particularly important in the EU, where local and national governments, alongside civil society, have been pondering how best to support newcomers and ease integration and social cohesion. Since 2015, the concept has been piloted and launched in several EU countries, including through the active input of regions and cities. In 2020, the European Commission presented a new pact on migration and asylum, affirming its commitment to supporting national sponsorship schemes through funding, capacity-building and knowledge-sharing.

Vulnerability of unaccompanied and separated child migrants

26-04-2021

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has estimated that the number of migrant children increased from 24 million during the 1990–2000 period to 33 million in 2019. In 2019 alone, some 33 200 children arrived in southern European countries, of which some 9 000 (27 %) were unaccompanied or separated from family member(s) on the journey. There are various reasons why a child may be unaccompanied or get separated, including persecution of the child or the parents; international conflict and civil ...

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has estimated that the number of migrant children increased from 24 million during the 1990–2000 period to 33 million in 2019. In 2019 alone, some 33 200 children arrived in southern European countries, of which some 9 000 (27 %) were unaccompanied or separated from family member(s) on the journey. There are various reasons why a child may be unaccompanied or get separated, including persecution of the child or the parents; international conflict and civil war; human trafficking and smuggling, including sale by parents; accidental separation from the parents over the course of their journey; and searching for better economic opportunities. Despite the existence of a comprehensive international legal framework on children's rights and their protection, irregular migrant children, especially those who are unaccompanied or who have been separated from their parents over their journey, face numerous obstacles and challenges during and after the migration process. Several international and European organisations have identified a number of protection gaps in the treatment of such children, including that they face greater risks of, inter alia, sexual exploitation and abuse, military recruitment, child labour (including for foster families) and detention. In many countries, they are routinely denied entry or detained by border or immigration officials. In other cases, they are admitted but are denied access to asylum procedures, or their asylum claims are not handled in an age and gender-sensitive manner. The vulnerable situation of unaccompanied and separated children worldwide, and the threats they face need to be addressed, particularly in view of the constant increase in their number. European Union asylum law offers special protection to such children, and the European Union has adopted numerous instruments and identified key actions for the protection of all children in migration, including those who are unaccompanied and separated. This briefing is an update of a 2016 briefing by Joanna Apap.

Pushbacks at the EU's external borders

08-03-2021

In recent years, the migration policy of the European Union (EU) has focused on strict border controls and the externalisation of migration management through cooperation with third countries. Although states have the right to decide whether to grant non-EU nationals access to their territory, they must do this in accordance with the law and uphold individuals' fundamental rights. Not only do the practices and policies of stopping asylum-seekers and migrants in need of protection at or before they ...

In recent years, the migration policy of the European Union (EU) has focused on strict border controls and the externalisation of migration management through cooperation with third countries. Although states have the right to decide whether to grant non-EU nationals access to their territory, they must do this in accordance with the law and uphold individuals' fundamental rights. Not only do the practices and policies of stopping asylum-seekers and migrants in need of protection at or before they reach the European Union's external borders ('pushbacks') erode EU values as enshrined in the EU Treaties, they may also violate international and European humanitarian and human rights laws. National human rights institutions, international bodies and civil society organisations regularly report cases of pushbacks at the European Union's land and sea borders. According to those reports, pushbacks often involve excessive use of force by EU Member States' authorities and EU agencies operating at external borders, and degrading and inhuman treatment of migrants and their arbitrary detention. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for Member States and EU agencies to comply with fundamental rights in their activities to protect the EU's external borders. Several international organisations and other stakeholders have condemned or filed legal actions against the practice of pushbacks carried out at the EU's external borders. In September 2020, the European Commission presented a pact on migration and asylum, including a proposal on pre-entry screening of third-country nationals at EU external borders, in a bid to address these potential breaches of fundamental rights.

New strategy to reinforce application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights: Local and regional perspective

10-02-2021

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) enshrines the civil, political, economic and social rights and principles of everyone covered by its scope. Despite evidence of it having resulted in positive outcomes since it became legally binding in 2009, European Commission reports and findings by the Fundamental Rights Agency show that the Charter has not been used to its full potential at national level. Furthermore, according to a Eurobarometer survey, there is lack of awareness ...

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) enshrines the civil, political, economic and social rights and principles of everyone covered by its scope. Despite evidence of it having resulted in positive outcomes since it became legally binding in 2009, European Commission reports and findings by the Fundamental Rights Agency show that the Charter has not been used to its full potential at national level. Furthermore, according to a Eurobarometer survey, there is lack of awareness of the Charter among EU citizens. The debate around how to promote awareness of the Charter, and of citizens' rights more broadly, in the EU has been going on for a number of years. In this context, a new strategy for effective application of the Charter has been adopted and will guide action for the next 10 years, to raise awareness and promote its effective use. Furthermore, in 2020 the European Commission launched a public consultation to collect input from a wide range of stakeholders on the subject, including actors at local level. The basic idea was that as local and regional authorities represent the tiers of government closest to the public, they are well placed to make the Charter known to citizens. This briefing provides guidance and tools to help local and regional authorities inform citizens of their rights under the Charter. It also presents best practice from selected EU Member States on promoting the principles underpinning the Charter at regional and local level.

Search and rescue in the Mediterranean

12-01-2021

International law imposes an obligation to render assistance to persons and ships in distress at sea, which must be provided regardless of the persons' nationality or status or the circumstances in which they are found. These rules have to be applied without prejudice to the obligations deriving from international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including in particular the prohibition of refoulement. Search and rescue (SAR) and disembarkation activities of EU Member States are ...

International law imposes an obligation to render assistance to persons and ships in distress at sea, which must be provided regardless of the persons' nationality or status or the circumstances in which they are found. These rules have to be applied without prejudice to the obligations deriving from international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including in particular the prohibition of refoulement. Search and rescue (SAR) and disembarkation activities of EU Member States are currently not covered by a common EU legal framework, except for those activities carried out in the context of Frontex-led joint operations at sea. In recent years, a significant proportion of migrants and asylum-seekers in distress at sea have been rescued by EU naval operations, EU agencies and non-governmental organisations in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, over the last couple of years, the Mediterranean Sea has also been the backdrop for the largest number of casualties and missing people. Lack of coordination in search and rescue activities, solitary action by individual countries and criminalisation of non-governmental organisations active in SAR in the Mediterranean lead to migrants being forced to stay for several days and sometimes weeks on boats. EU Member States and EU agencies (Frontex) have also been accused of pushbacks of asylum-seekers and other migrants to the high seas and towards Libya and Turkey. Individual actors dealing with boats of migrants have been a subject of strong criticism and legal action. Their accountability is, however, not always clear, the reason being varied application and interpretation of different bodies of international law. One solution, proposed by academics, could be the harmonisation of the fragmented legal regime for maritime interceptions.

Reforming asylum and migration management

30-10-2020

In September 2020, the European Commission submitted a proposal on asylum and migration management, to replace the 2013 Dublin Regulation that determines the EU Member State responsible for examining asylum applications. While the proposal 'essentially preserves' the current criteria for determining this responsibility, it would also make changes and additions to the regulation, especially on solidarity and responsibility-sharing for asylum-seekers among Member States. The proposal comes after a ...

In September 2020, the European Commission submitted a proposal on asylum and migration management, to replace the 2013 Dublin Regulation that determines the EU Member State responsible for examining asylum applications. While the proposal 'essentially preserves' the current criteria for determining this responsibility, it would also make changes and additions to the regulation, especially on solidarity and responsibility-sharing for asylum-seekers among Member States. The proposal comes after a failed attempt to reform EU asylum policy following the 2015 migration crisis. While the migratory context has changed since, both in terms of arrivals and the composition of flows, the migration situation remains fragile, as evidenced by pressures on national asylum systems and continual disembarkations after search and rescue operations. According to the Commission, addressing this situation requires a relaunch of the reform of the common European asylum system to achieve a more efficient, fair and harmonised framework that is more resistant to future migratory pressures. The new system would ensure international protection to those who need it and be effective and humane towards those who have to be returned. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

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.

The need for solidarity in EU asylum policy

23-09-2020

In early September 2020, a fire in the over-crowded migrant camp of Moria in Greece pushed thousands of people onto the streets, exacerbating the already dire conditions faced by asylum-seekers and migrants. The incident also shows the need to find a solution to a crisis of solidarity in EU asylum policy that has remained unresolved since the unprecedented influx of migrants into the EU in 2015. The European Commission presented a new Pact on Asylum and Migration on 23 September 2020. In that, it ...

In early September 2020, a fire in the over-crowded migrant camp of Moria in Greece pushed thousands of people onto the streets, exacerbating the already dire conditions faced by asylum-seekers and migrants. The incident also shows the need to find a solution to a crisis of solidarity in EU asylum policy that has remained unresolved since the unprecedented influx of migrants into the EU in 2015. The European Commission presented a new Pact on Asylum and Migration on 23 September 2020. In that, it puts forward a compromise on solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility for asylum-seekers among EU Member States.

Upholding human rights in Europe during the pandemic

23-09-2020

The severe coronavirus outbreak has forced governments across the world to resort to drastic measures in order to slow down the spread of the virus and prevent a public health crisis. As elsewhere, these emergency measures taken in Europe have affected all aspects of societal life and profoundly impacted people's personal freedoms and individual rights, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Although certain human rights can be suspended in situations of emergency, human ...

The severe coronavirus outbreak has forced governments across the world to resort to drastic measures in order to slow down the spread of the virus and prevent a public health crisis. As elsewhere, these emergency measures taken in Europe have affected all aspects of societal life and profoundly impacted people's personal freedoms and individual rights, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Although certain human rights can be suspended in situations of emergency, human rights conventions, such as the ECHR, continue to apply even then. In fact, many human rights instruments provide for such situations and contain dedicated 'emergency clauses' that give governments additional flexibility to address crises. Indeed, within the ECHR framework, Article 15 is one such clause that allows Council of Europe (CoE) member states to temporarily diverge from their ordinary convention obligations to resolve an emergency, provided certain conditions are met. During the coronavirus pandemic, derogation clauses such as Article 15 of the ECHR, have gained particular importance, as so far 10 CoE member states have notified their intention to derogate from certain ECHR provisions in order to tackle the outbreak. This briefing explains the functioning of Article of the 15 ECHR and its application to the current health emergency. Furthermore, it lists some fundamental rights and freedoms that have been affected by the coronavirus emergency measures, while also showcasing how Member States have sought to reconcile measures to protect public health with the fundamental rights principles enshrined in the ordinary framework of the ECHR. The briefing also stresses that it is key to protect the human rights of vulnerable persons, including during the implementation of recovery strategies.

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