Relocation and Resettlement: EU Member States urgently need to deliver
“…With 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.
In today’s report, the Commission makes several specific recommendations to the Member States of relocation, asking them to increase their pledges and shorten the time needed to process applications. The Commission also calls on Member States to limit additional security checks to justified cases only, to provide pre-departure information packs and to respond as soon as possible to the European Asylum Support Office’s calls for experts. Member States should only indicate selection preferences to improve the matching process for better integration, not as grounds for rejecting relocation requests.
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….”