The data released by the European Commission on the relocation and resettlement of refugees – asylum seekers -from Greece is as depressive as they could be and as everyone would have suspected. Not even 600 people have left Greece for another EU member country a total of 937 people were relocated form Greece and Italy. The EU Commission speaks of “unsatisfactory pace” and “the urgent need of EU members sates to show commitment” while it criticizes “the lack of political will” …oh! and Greece and Italy!
Now, and ahead of the Eu leaders Summit tomorrow, the Commission calls on EU member states to “urgently deliver.”
Relocation and Resettlement: EU Member States urgently need to deliver
In 2015 the Commission took decisive action to help address the refugee crisis that EU Member States and neighbouring countries are facing. […] the Commission proposed to relocate 160,000 people in clear need of international protection […] At the same time, with a view to addressing the global migratory crisis comprehensively and to show solidarity with third countries equally affected, the Commission recommended an EU resettlement scheme for 20,000 people in need of international protection.
Relocation: time for real commitments and quick implementationWith 937 asylum applicants relocated from Greece and Italy as of 15 March, the pace of transfers is unsatisfactory, even if there are now the first signs of a more positive trend. The experience of the first weeks of March, where 287 people were relocated swiftly (including 241 from Greece) shows that relocation can work faster if Member States are truly committed.
The lack of political will among Member States has been the most important factor in slowing down the process. This has translated into a limited number of relocation pledges or lengthy response time – jeopardising the ability of the programme to become an alternative to dangerous and irregular routes.
Determined action by Member States for relocation is urgently needed to step up the pace. Currently, the total number of persons ready to be relocated exceeds the pledges made by Member States. In order to meet the commitments allocated so far under the relocation scheme, around 5,600 relocations per month should be achieved as a minimum, implying a relocation procedure of a maximum period of two weeks (see Annex). Based on this assessment, the Commission calls for at least 6,000 relocations to be completed by the time of the next monthly report. In view of the emergency situation on the ground, it then calls for a stepping up of the rate so that by the time of the third monthly report in May, at least 20,000 relocations should have been completed.
Greece and Italy are called upon to step up efforts from their side to ensure a speedy and efficient functioning of the scheme, in particular in relation to systematic security checks and the quality of the information sent to Member States of relocation. The two countries should also improve their coordination capacity, enhance their reception capacity, avoid the risks of candidates absconding and adequately tailor and improve the procedures for relocation of unaccompanied minors.
(full EC report and text here)
Juncker: How did this happen?