Migration

ECJ ruling on refugees: no more excuses to delay transfers from Italy and Greece | EU Parliament Press

European Parliament rapporteur for relocation decisions, Ska Keller (Greens, DE), and Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) welcome decision by European Court of Justice. The Court ruled today against Hungary and Slovakia’s appeal against the EU decision to relocate refugees from Greece and Italy, stating that the scheme “actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate”.

Ska Keller said: “Now that the ECJ has dismissed the actions of Hungary and Slovakia against the redistribution of refugees, there is no excuse. Finally, those member states which have so far boycotted redistribution must also deliver. Solidarity in the EU is not a one-way street. Government leaders such as Viktor Orbán cannot demand more money for border protection, while blocking the reception of refugees from Greece and Italy.”

She added: “This ruling is a milestone for the EU. The ECJ confirmed that solidarity is a key principle of the common asylum policy. All member states must now live up to their obligations; it is insane that most countries are still lagging far behind. The European Commission should also follow-up with the infringement proceedings initiated against Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland for not doing their part”.

Claude Moraes said: “Member States cannot dodge their responsibilities; today’s verdict has shown this. The Parliament has consistently called on Member States to quickly uphold their commitments, since the adoption of the relocation mechanism in 2015. Yet two years later, only 28 000 people out of the 160 000 have been relocated.”

According to Moraes, “the fact that collectively Member States have relocated less than a quarter of the modest figure of 160 000 people from Italy and Greece draws attention to significant gaps in the EU’s response to the biggest refugee crisis on the continent since World War II. We urgently need to have in place an organised and compassionate response.”

Quick facts

Against the background of severe migration and refugee crises in the summer of 2015, the EU adopted two emergency decisions to relocate thousands of refugees.  160 000 asylum seekers with a high chance of being granted refugee status from Italy and Greece were to be relocated by September 2017 to other member states where their applications would be processed.

Both Hungary and Slovakia appealed the European Court of Justice to annul the second Decision, which foresaw the relocation of 120 000 asylum-seekers, denouncing what they considered wrong legal grounds and arguing that it was not proportionate nor adequate for the purpose sought.

Last June, the European Commission announced infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for non-compliance with their obligations under the relocation decisions. Neither Hungary nor Poland have so far relocated anyone, while the Czech Republic has not done so since August 2016.

According to UNHCR data, around 50 000 asylum-seekers are still stuck in Greece. Italy had a record number of arrivals in 2016, with 181 436 migrants and asylum-seekers reaching its shores. So far this year, 99 742 people have arrived in the country, mainly from Libya.

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Today, MEPs lay out their input for the upcoming European Council | European Parliament Pressroom

MEPs will debate their priorities ahead of the 22-23 June European Council Wednesday at 9.00.

Migration, security and defence will top the summit agenda. The Brexit negotiations will most likely be addressed as well in the debate with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Maltese minister Helena Dalli representing the Council on Wednesday at 09.00.

Back in May, the European Parliament urged EU countries to fulfil their obligations and speed up the relocation of refugees, giving priority to children travelling alone. They also seek ambitious reform of the common European asylum system.

MEPs also consistently support more cooperation on defence between EU countries, calling on Member States to show political commitment, increase investment, share information, pool resources and create synergies at EU level in order to better protect Europeans.

The top priority for the Brexit negotiations is the safeguarding of the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in other countries of the EU.

You can watch the plenary debate via EP Live, and EbS+

Debate: Wednesday, 14 June 

#EUCO #Brexit #migrationEU #refugeecrisis #EUdefence @JunckerEU

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Commissioners Avramopoulos and Thyssen to launch “Employers for Integration” at second European Dialogue on Skills and Migration | European Commission – Press Release

Tomorrow, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen will host the second meeting of the European Dialogue on Skills and Migration, at the European Business Summit. The Commissioners will officially launch the “Employers together for integration” initiative, in the presence of CEOs and other high-level representatives of several companies committed to fostering migrant integration. The initiative aims to promote employers’ efforts across the EU to support the integration of refugees and other migrants in the labour market and beyond. On this occasion Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: “Making integration work is not just a social but an economic imperative. Only a successful integration of all migrants in the EU will allow turning migration into an opportunity, both for them and for our European society and economy. The role and engagement of employers is essential for this.” Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “The forum is a sign of commitment that we unite forces with employers. Our primary task now is to tackle the challenges and to seize the opportunities of integrating refugees and asylum seekers in the labour market. It can and should be a win-win for all.” All interested companies can support the initiative and sign up here. The event will be recorded on EbS and can be followed live on the social media through #EBS2017 and #IntegrationMatters. The European Dialogue on Skills and Migration was launched in 2016 to foster exchanges between the Commission and economic and social partners, in particular employers, on labour migration related issues. For its second edition on 23 May 2017, the Dialogue focuses on the labour market integration of refugees and other legally residing migrants. More information on the Dialogue is available here. See here for more information on the Commission’s participation in the European Business Summit.

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MEPs to urge EU countries to speed up transfer of refugees from Italy and Greece | European Parliament – Press Room

MEPs will urge EU countries on Tuesday morning to accelerate the transfer of refugees from Italy and Greece to other member states, as agreed in September 2015.

Under two Council decisions adopted in September 2015, member states committed to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from these two “frontline” countries by September 2017, but only 18,418 persons have been moved (as of 11 May). Following the plenary debate with Council and Commission representatives, MEPs will vote on a resolution on Thursday.

Background

Against the background of severe migration and refugee crises in the summer of 2015, the EU adopted two emergency decisions to relocate thousands of refugees.  160,000 asylum seekers with a high chance of being granted refugee status from Italy and Greece were to be relocated by September 2017 to other member states where their applications would be processed.

In a subsequent decision approved by the Council in September 2016 – which was opposed by Parliament – member states agreed that 54,000 out of the 160,000 places could be used for the admission of Syrian refugees from Turkey, as part of the EU-Turkey migration deal, rather than from Italy or Greece.

According to UNHCR data, around 50,000 asylum-seekers are still stuck in Greece, while Italy faced a new record in 2016 with 181.436 new arrivals.

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In Parliament this week: Turkey, geoblocking, social protection, migration | European Parliament Newsroom

A wide variety of internal and external issues are up for debate at this week’s plenary session in Brussels. MEPs discuss the recent referendum in Turkey with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini while developments in Greece, Hungary and Venezuela are also on the agenda. In Parliament’s committees, MEPs are to vote on the protection of minors online and on limiting the geoblocking of services. Also up for a vote is the establishment of an EU fund to fight the root causes of migration.

Plenary
The recent referendum in Turkey on sweeping new powers for the country’s president will be discussed on Wednesday afternoon with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
On the same day, members also debate the situation in Hungary including legislative measures that could force the closure of the Central European University in Budapest.
On Wednesday, MEPs discuss the European Commission’s “Social Pillar” initiative which aims to ensure social protection, dignity and a decent work-life balance for Europeans. Commissioner Marianne Thyssen will be in attendance.
Parliament discussed the latest political developments in Venezuela earlier this month; a resolution on the situation in the Latin American country will be put a vote on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, MEPs are to quiz Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem on the Greek economic reform programme.
Committees
On Monday, the foreign affairs, development and budget committees vote on establishing an EU fund to boost employment and stability in Africa and other regions in the EU’s neighbourhood. The European Fund for Sustainable Development aims to address the root causes of migration.
The culture committee votes on Tuesday to adapt the 2010 EU audiovisual media services directive to include new distribution methods, digitalisation, video-sharing platforms and the protection of minors.
Also on Tuesday, the internal market committee votes on new draft rules to stop price discrimination and different conditions for consumers buying goods or services from EU countries other than their own.
In the civil liberties committee on Tuesday, MEPs vote on rules to better harmonise reception conditions for asylum-seekers across all member states and to guarantee adequate facilities for vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied minors.
Click here for more on this week’s plenary.

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Security Union: Commission proposes to reinforce the Schengen Information System to better fight terrorism and cross-border crime | European Commission -Daily News

The Commission is today proposing to strengthen the operational effectiveness and efficiency of the Schengen Information System (SIS), as announced in the Communication setting out the way forward towards the achievement of an effective and sustainable EU Security Union and as reiterated in President Juncker’s State of the Union Address. Consulted 2.9 billion times in 2015, SIS is the most widely used information sharing system for border management and security in Europe. The proposed improvements will further enhance the ability of the system to fight terrorism and cross-border crime, improve border and migration management and ensure an effective information exchange between Member States to increase the security of European citizens. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: “With today’s proposals, we extend the scope of the Schengen Information System to close information gaps and improve information exchange on terrorism, cross-border crime and irregular migration – contributing to a stronger control of our external borders and an effective and sustainable EU Security Union. In the future, no critical information should ever be lost on potential terrorist suspects or irregular migrants crossing our external borders.” Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King, said: “The Schengen Information System is central to Europe’s internal security. Today’s measures will deliver important technical and operational improvements so it’s easier to detect and identify those who wish us harm. It will also improve cooperation and information sharing between Member States and with relevant EU agencies. Much more remains to be done though: SIS is only as good as the data inputted into it. We’ll bring forward further improvements in 2017.”

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Commission reports on progress made under the European Agenda on Migration | European Commission – Daily News

The Commission is today reporting on progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and on the EU’s relocation and resettlement schemes. The Commission also adopted a fourth Recommendation today that takes stock of the progress achieved by Greece to put in place a fully functioning asylum system and sets out a process for the gradual resumption of Dublin transfers to Greece. European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Our comprehensive European approach on migration is showing positive results. We can see this in the continued implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and the dramatic decrease in the number of irregular migrants arriving in Greece. We also see it in the progress made by the Greek authorities in rectifying deficiencies in the country’s asylum system, which has allowed us to recommend the gradual resumption of Dublin transfers to Greece as of 15 March 2017. This will provide further disincentives against irregular entry and secondary movements, and is an important step for the return to a normally functionally Dublin and Schengen system.” Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Both Italy and Greece have made herculean efforts in recent months in managing the refugee crisis. The fact that today we close the infringement cases on the fingerprinting and registration of migrants is proof of that. This November was a record month for relocation with over 1,400 persons transferred, and Member States must build on this progress by further intensifying and sustaining their efforts. Our aim is to relocate all those in Italy and Greece who are eligible for relocation within the next year. These efforts, together with a lasting reduction in arrivals from Turkey thanks to the EU-Turkey Statement, are necessary building blocks for a gradual return to the Dublin system for Greece.

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Security Union: Commission presents Action Plan to strengthen the European response to tackle travel document fraud | European Commission – Daily News

Today, the Commission has adopted an Action Plan setting out concrete measures to improve the security of travel documents, as announced in the Communication on “Enhancing security in a world of mobility” adopted on the occasion of President Juncker’s 2016 State of the Union address. The Action Plan provides clear recommendations for Member States to tackle the phenomenon of travel document fraud and outlines a comprehensive set of actions for the Commission to take. Travel document security is an important factor in the fight against terrorism and organised crime and contributes to improving border protection and migration management, paving a way towards an effective and genuine Security Union. Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Ensuring the security of travel and identity documents is an important factor in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. Today’s Action Plan proposes concrete operational measures which will allow Member States to combat travel document fraud more effectively, contributing to improving the protection of our borders, ensuring our internal security and better managing migration.” Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: “We know that terrorists have used forged travel documents to travel undetected across the EU. Indeed, many of our security measures rely on secure travel and identity documents – such as the checks at the external border under the Schengen Border Code or behind the border against the Schengen Information System. That’s why Member States and EU agencies must work together to improve the security of travel documents and detection of travel document fraud. Taken together, these measures will help close down existing security gaps.”

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Commission launches online tools to centralise data on migration flows to inform EU policymaking | European Commission – Daily News

Tomorrow, the European Commission’s Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography (KCMD) will launch two new tools: the Migration Data Catalogue and the Dynamic Data Hub. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre said: “The European Commission’s Agenda on migration sets out to make best use of all tools and involve all actors to tackle the challenge. High quality data is crucial for all those involved to make informed decisions. With a multitude of data sources and a user-friendly interface, the Migration Data Catalogue and the Dynamic Data Hub make finding, accessing and understanding migration data easier. The first big products of the Commission’s Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography, these tools will help manage migration in all its aspects.” The tools will centralise migration related data to better understand migration flows, trends and their impact on societies across the EU. In line with the implementation of the European Agenda on Migration,the Migration Data Catalogue will classify and organise datasets in a series of predefined domains, including legal migration and integration, asylum-seekers and refugees, irregular migration and returns, as well as unaccompanied minors. Building upon the Migration Data Catalogue, the Dynamic Data Hub – a publicly available web-based application – will provide direct access to single datasets through interactive mapping. Both tools will support the European Commission and interested organisations to formulate data-driven policies. So far, data has been fragmented, which meant that available figures were not used efficiently.

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Commissioners Avramopoulos and King in Rome for the G6 meeting of Interior Ministers | European Commission – Announcements

On 20 and 21 October, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King, will participate in the G6 meeting in Rome with Interior Ministers from Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom as well as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security. Representatives from Europol, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the European Border and Coast Guard, UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Interpol will also be present. Participants will discuss issues relating to migration, security and terrorism, and cybersecurity. In addition, Commissioner King will today participate in a joint hearing of the Committees of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and the Senate on the steps taken by the European Commission to strengthen the EU’s security and its fight against terrorism. The joint hearing will be streamed live here. Commissioner King will also meet with Prefetto Franco Gabrielli, Head of the Italian Police.

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