The 2015-17 EU relocation scheme was established to relieve pressure on Italy and Greece by transferring 160,000 asylum seekers to other Member States. Member State participation in the scheme was mandatory, and relocation activities were financially supported by the Asylum, Migration & Integration Fund (2014-20). Although the scheme fell far short of its original target, relocating around 37,000 persons during 2015-17, it represented a significant step forward for solidarity and responsibility-sharing between Member States in the context of asylum.
To find out about Member States' contributions to the EU relocation during 2015-17, check the individual country posters included in the SHARE Network graphic display series published in late 2019.
Relocation continues on a voluntary basis pending the publication of the New Pact on Asylum & Migration later in 2020, which Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has indicated will contain a 'permanent solidarity mechanism'.
The SHARE Network has reported, for example, on ongoing efforts to ensure Member States fulfil their pre-COVID19 pledges to relocate unaccompanied children from camps on the Greek islands. Cities and regions are playing an increasingly important role in advocating for Member State involvement in this relocation exercise:
- In April 2020, Berlin indicated its willingness to receive 1500 children.
- 119 Dutch municipalities have formed a 'coalition of the willing' ready to receive unaccompanied children from Greece.
- At start June, the German federal state of Thuringia requested approval and funding from the German government to receive 500 persons from the Greek islands.
- The Europe Must Act! campaign is building an EU-wide coalition of cities, mayors and local citizens willing to receive relocated asylum seekers from the Greek islands.