European Commission proposals to address the current refugee crisis and future of EU migration policy

09 Sep 2015

Following on from President Juncker’s State of the Union address, the European Commission has presented measures to respond to the current refugee crisis and to prepare for future challenges.

Key proposals include:

  1. An emergency relocation proposal for 120,000 persons in clear need of protection from Greece, Hungary and Italy. This is in addition to the proposal from May to relocate 40,000 people from Italy and Greece to other EU Member States, bringing the total proposed number for relocation up to 160,000.
  2. A permanent crisis relocation mechanism for all Member States which will allow Member States to deal more quickly with crisis situations in the future.
  3. A common European list of Safe Countries of Origin to comprise, in a first instance, of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. It is proposed that this list will allow Member States to fast track asylum procedures for nationals of countries that are presumed safe to live in, without taking away the fundamental rights of asylum for asylum seekers.
  4. Making return policy more effective through a common Return Handbook and an EU Action Plan on Return.
  5. A Communication on Public Procurement rules for Refugee Support Measures, in recognition of the fact that Member States will have to quickly and adequately satisfy the most immediate needs of asylum seekers for housing, supplies and services.
  6. A Communication on addressing the external dimension of the refugee crisis, both through financial support to neighbouring countries as well as through readmission agreements and  mobility partnership agreements.
  7. An Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The European Commission has allocated €1.8 billion from the EU budget to set up an “Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration in Africa”. The aim is to improve stability and address root causes of irregular migration flows.

Next steps:  The Extraordinary Home Affairs Council on Migration on 14 September will be the next opportunity for Member States to discuss and adopt the Commission’s legislative proposals.

Ireland: No information is yet available on the extent to which Ireland will participate in the latest proposed relocation scheme of 120,000 refugees. Ireland agreed in July to relocate 600 persons in need of international protection, under a temporary and exceptional relocation mechanism to run over two years, for 40,000 people migrating through Italy and Greece to other EU Member States. Ireland’s participation in the Resolution is subject to opting in to the relevant Council Decision, which requires Oireachtas agreement.

State of the Union address

President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his first State of the Union speech before the European Parliament.  In his speech he called for greater solidarity in addressing the refugee crisis and EU migration policy.

For more information: 

See European Commission press release: Refugee Crisis: European Commission takes decisive action

See full State of the Union 2015: Time for Honesty, Unity and Solidarity speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker

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