External EU action to address the refugee crisis
Joint Communication — JOIN(2015) 40 final — Refugee crisis in Europe: the role of EU External Action
WHAT DOES THIS JOINT COMMUNICATION DO?
It describes the measures the EU is taking beyond its borders to tackle the refugee crisis. Precedence is being given to initiatives that have an immediate impact on migration flows, although longer term action is required to tackle the root causes.
The communication is part of a broader package of proposals the European Commission has tabled to address the phenomenon.
The EU has allocated €96.8 billion for 2014-2020 for foreign policy and development cooperation.
The Commission has proposed a European Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to tackle the causes of migration on the continent.
The EU is using its diplomatic, financial and humanitarian resources to help Syrian and Iraqi refugees and neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey bearing the brunt of the exodus.
An EU plan is being put in place to manage migration flows through the western Balkans.
Regional strategies are being used to help parts of Africa such as the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Gulf of Guinea.
Individual programmes have been designed to help countries, like Libya, Niger, Mali, Central African Republic, Somalia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Yemen, with their specific problems.
The EU is actively engaged with United Nations organisations and other international partners to help countries hosting large numbers of displaced people and to manage refugee flows.
The EU is working with other countries, particularly in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Pacific, on agreements to return illegal migrants.
The EU is helping countries on its borders to fight the organised crime responsible for migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
Two high-level international conferences specifically focused on migration were held in autumn 2015:
The Valletta Summit on Migration (11-12 November 2015)
The High-level Conference on Eastern Mediterranean/western Balkans route (8 October 2015)
The EU is facing the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II. Since the beginning of 2015, it has mobilised all its foreign policy means to respond. These are guided by 3 aims: saving lives, protecting those in need and managing borders and refugee movements.
Migration: Towards a European agenda on Migration
Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council — addressing the refugee crisis in Europe: the role of EU External Action (JOIN(2015) 40 final of 9.9.2015)
Temporary protection if there is a mass influx of displaced people
Directive 2001/55/EC — rules for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and measures promoting a balance of efforts between EU countries
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THIS DIRECTIVE?
It sets up a scheme to deal with mass arrivals in the EU of foreign nationals who cannot return to their countries – in particular due to war, violence or human rights violations.
It puts in place immediate temporary protection for these displaced people.
It promotes a balance of efforts between EU countries in receiving people. But it does not require compulsory distribution of asylum-seekers across EU countries.
Denmark is not participating in the directive.
Implementation of temporary protection
Temporary protection is implemented in all EU countries by a Council decision confirming a mass influx of displaced people to the EU and stating the groups of people who need protection.
Duration is 1 year. Can be extended by up to 2 years.
Protection may end if the Council deems it safe for people to return to their home country.
EU countries must ensure that displaced people are willing to come to their country.
Some people may be excluded from temporary protection.
They include people:
crimes against peace*
war crimes, crimes against humanity
serious non-political crimes
acting against the purposes and principles of the United Nations
who are a danger to security in the host EU country.
Effects of temporary protection
EU countries must give people who are granted temporary protection a residence permit.
This is valid for the full duration of protection.
People granted temporary protection have the right to:
be employed or self-employed
access adult education, vocational training and work experience
social welfare and financial support and medical care.
Children under 18 will also have the right to enter education under the same conditions as nationals of the host EU country.
If some members of the same family have been granted temporary protection in different EU countries, or if some family members are not yet in the EU, they must have the right to be reunited in the same EU country.
These rules are in line with EU rules on receiving applicants for international protection in Directive 2013/33/EU.
People granted temporary protection must be able to lodge an application for asylum. The EU country that receives the person is responsible for examining the application.
However, countries may decide that someone who has been granted temporary protection cannot have the status of asylum-seeker at the same time.
This helps countries to reduce the burden on their asylum system by offering temporary protection while postponing the examination of asylum applications.
Directive 2013/32/EU sets out common EU rules for granting and withdrawing international protection.
Ending temporary protection
During protection or when temporary protection ends, EU countries must take steps to enable the voluntary return of protected people.
If enforced return is necessary, countries must make sure there is due respect for human dignity and that there are no compelling humanitarian reasons that would make return impossible.
People who cannot travel for health reasons cannot be forced to return until their health improves.
Families whose children are minors and attend school may be allowed to stay until the end of the school year.
The measures laid down by the directive benefit from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. If the number of displaced people exceeds the reception capacity indicated by EU countries, the Council will take appropriate measures, in particular by recommending additional support for the EU countries affected.
FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?
It has applied since 7 August 2001. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 31 December 2002.
The scheme set out in the directive has not yet been triggered.
For more information, including a detailed study of the directive completed in 2016, see:
‘Temporary protection’ on the European Commission’s website.
* KEY TERMS
Crime against peace: under international law, it means planning, preparing, initiating, or waging of wars of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participating in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of these.
Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof (OJ L 212, 7.8.2001, pp. 12–23)
Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 60-95)
Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 96–116)
Regulation (EU) No 514/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 laying down general provisions on the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and on the instrument for financial support for police cooperation, preventing and combating crime, and crisis management (OJ L 150, 20.5.2014, pp. 112–142)
Facility for Refugees in Turkey
Commission Decision C(2015) 9500 — Refugee Facility for Turkey
Commission Decision C(2016) 855 — amending Decision C(2015) 9500
Commission Decision C(2017) 2293 — Facility for Refugees for Turkey
Commission Decision C(2018) 1500 amending Decision C(2015) 9500 — contribution to the Facility for Refugees in Turkey
Decision C(2015) 9500 aims to help Turkey deal with the inflow of refugees* resulting from the Syrian crisis, Turkey being a major first reception and transit country for migrants due to its geographical position. It sets up the Refugee Facility for Turkey (the ‘Facility’).
Decision C(2016) 855 amends Decision C(2015) 9500, clarifying the scope of actions, other than humanitarian assistance, the Facility will coordinate, as well as the role and operation of the Facility’s steering committee. It also modifies the split of allocations between the general budget of the EU and EU countries’ contributions.
Decision C(2017) 2293 amends Decision C(2015) 9500, clarifying that no interest is due for the late payment by an EU country of a contribution to the Facility.
Decision C(2018) 1500 amends Decision C(2015) 9500, granting an additional tranche of €3 billion for the Facility as stated in the EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016.
To assist Turkey in addressing the immediate humanitarian and development needs of the refugees, their host communities, national and local authorities a coordination mechanism is established: the Refugee Facility.
The Facility’s objective is to ensure that actions financed with financial contributions from the EU countries and the general budget of the EU are properly coordinated and streamlined.
The budget set for the Facility is €3 billion, comprising:
€0.5 billion from the EU budget; and
€2.5 billion in the form of contributions from the EU countries as external assigned revenue*, according to a breakdown set in the annex to the decision and based on the Gross National Income Key*.
The European Commission coordinates the Facility by setting priorities for the allocation of resources.
The Facility is led by a steering committee providing strategic guidance. This committee is composed of two Commission representatives and a representative from each EU country, as well as a representative of Turkey in an advisory capacity. The Commission chairs the committee and provides its secretariat.
The Commission is responsible for managing the Facility in compliance with the relevant EU legislation providing the legal basis for the respective actions and their implementation.
Amendments in 2016, 2017 and 2018
The decision was amended in 2016 by Decision C/2016/855:
The mechanism is renamed ‘Facility for Refugees in Turkey’.
It clarifies the types of measures to refugees that may be coordinated through the Facility. These include
migration management; and
The role and functioning of the steering committee is further detailed.
The Facility’s budget is revised as follows:
within the €3 billion budget, the share of the contribution from the general EU budget is increased to one third;
the share of the EU countries is reduced to €2 billion;
the breakdown of contributions between EU countries is based on the Gross National Income Key used for the 2015 budget (the annex has been deleted).
Because the decision still referred to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 on the financial rules applicable to the EU’s general budget, the decision was amended a second time in 2017 by Decision C(2017) 2293. It clarifies that:
EU countries’ contributions to the Facility are voluntary and, unlike in the case of the EU’s own resources (i.e. the EU budget’s main sources of revenue), do not correspond to a pre-existing obligation;
as an exception to the financial rules that apply to the EU’s general budget, no interest is due for the late payment by an EU country of a contribution to the Facility.
In 2018, the decision was amended again further to the undertaking by the EU in the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement to mobilise a further €3 billion under the Facility for Refugees, under certain conditions, because the initially allocated €3 billion were about to be used to the full. This second tranche — to ensure the continuity of the Facility’s work for the 2018–2019 period — would follow the same pattern of distribution (i.e. €2 billion from EU countries and €1 billion from the EU budget).
The Commission publishes annual reports on the Facility’s operations.
Decision C(2015) 9500 has applied since 1 January 2016.
Decision C(2016 855 has applied since 7 March 2016.
Decision C(2017) 2293 has applied retroactively from 10 February 2016, in order to cover the contributions already made by EU countries.
Decision C(2018) 1500 has applied since 14 March 2018.
For more information, see:
EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey (European Commission).
Refugees: people forced to leave their country and seek refuge from conflicts, violence, human rights violations, persecutions and natural disasters.
External assigned revenue: funds that are not part of the EU budget and come separately from the parties participating in the Facility.
Gross National Income Key: a matrix containing countries’ Gross National Income data which is used to determine fair burden-sharing.
Commission Decision C(2018)1500 of 14 March 2018 on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey amending Commission Decision C(2015) 9500 as regards the contribution to the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (OJ C 106, 21.3.2018, pp. 4-6)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council — Second Annual Report on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (COM(2018) 91 final, 14.3.2018)
Commission Decision C(2017) 2293 of 18 April 2017 on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey amending Commission Decision C(2015) 9500 of 24 November 2015 (OJ C 122, 19.4.2017, pp. 4-5)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council — First Annual Report on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (COM(2017) 130 final, 2.3.2017)
Commission Decision C(2016) 855 of 10 February 2016 on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, amending Commission Decision C(2015) 9500 of 24 November 2015 (OJ C 60, 16.2.2016, pp. 3-6)
Commission Decision C(2015) 9500 of 24 November 2015 on the coordination of the actions of the Union and of the Member States through a coordination mechanism — the Refugee Facility for Turkey (OJ C 407, 8.12.2015, pp. 8-13)
Successive amendments to Decision C(2015) 9500 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 (OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, pp. 1-96)