EU Resettlement Policy

OBJECTIVE

In this workshop experts discuss whether the EU can develop a coordinated resettlement approach and how such an EU resettlement policy would relate to the global resettlement needs. It also addresses the question how the EU can make a difference with relatively small resettlement numbers.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Resettlement was at the core of the external dimension of the EU asylum policy.
  • The speakers welcomed the adoption in March 2012 of the Joint EU Resettlement Programme for 2013, and pointed out that in the framework of the new EU Asylum and Migration Fund as of 2014 the EC has proposed a major increase in funding for resettlement (seven times the amount of the current European Refugee Fund (ERF)).
  • Under the Joint EU Resettlement Programme the setting of priorities in a cooperative spirit, is a new experience for traditional EU resettlement countries. In this context it is extremely important that European countries closely follow UNHCR’s proposals for priorities. A situation which could be usefully looked at in the context of the joint EU programme was the situation of Afghan refugees in Iran.
  • In the discussion the need to closely coordinate the programming of EU resettlement funds with Member States, UNHCR and other players was emphasized. The exact roles of the EC and EASO would still need to be identified.
  • - Whereas currently only 5,000 refugees per year are resettled to the EU (out of whom 3,000 with ERF support), the Commission would like to see 20,000 resettlement places offered every year in 2012.
  • Several speakers emphasized the importance of the post-resettlement phase saying that local integration must be a key focus in mutual EU-NGO efforts. Whereas funding was an important factor to enhance the EU resettlement effort, growth mainly depends on the sustainability and quality of work in the context of resettlement. Need to focus on the reception and integration phases rather than the selection and admission process.
  • Currently there are differences in the treatment of resettled refugees and their chances for integration between Member States. Further harmonization, confidence-building and awareness-raising are necessary before resettlement can really become a joint policy.
  • Finally, the following areas for further discussion were identified: Coordination, the post-arrival phase (exchange of practices with regard to reception and integration), the strategic positioning of the EU on the global resettlement scheme and the need for resettlement to be a part of a “whole of government approach”.