The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) has today voted on proposals for a Union Resettlement Framework, including targets designed to increase ambition across the Member States. The Parliament has demanded a target of 20% of the UNHCR global needs. Based on current levels, that would equate to 240,000 refugees.
The Greens/EFA group was among the clear majority in the LIBE committee that supported a humanitarian based approach, rejecting the European Commission’s proposal to make resettlement conditional on cooperation on other partnership agreements (see background).
Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur Judith Sargentini comments:
"Europe is turning towards a more humanitarian approach and accepting that resettlement is the way to keep refugees safe from dangerous journeys. Following the European Commission’s plans to resettle 50,000 refugees and President Macron’s promise that France will take in 10,000 people currently in Niger and Chad, the European Parliament has taken the next big step forward.
"We want to make sure that all Member States share in the responsibility so that the EU can offer much greater support to refugees and the UNHCR. This represents a completely different approach to what the Commission had originally proposed, which would have seen resettlement policy used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with third countries, failing to protect those most in need and leaving the crisis ongoing.
"Rather than brokering dodgy deals that leave the most vulnerable at risk, we need to tackle this problem head on. The European Parliament stands united and determined to ensure that today's progress is maintained in the trilogue negotiations and a humanitarian approach enshrined in the final regulation."
Contrary to traditional resettlement schemes, the Commission proposed to establish annual targeted resettlement plans which would specify the regions or third countries from which resettlement would take place. Rather than being based on the specific vulnerabilities of the individuals to be resettled, this would be based on criteria stemming from cooperation with third countries under the so-called “Partnership Framework” principle based on conditionality of development cooperation on actions aimed at reducing the numbers of irregular crossings, and increased forced returns and readmissions, essentially codifying in this proposal the main elements of the EU-Turkey statement of 18 March 2016.