Steady relocation progress observed
Member States set a new monthly record relocating 2,465 persons
13 April, 2017
Sub-Saharan migrants wait to be relocated.
Member States have made steady progress on migrants' resettlement, setting a new monthly record in March with an additional 2,465 persons relocated, according to the 11th progress report released last Wednesday by the Commission. The total number of relocations now stands at 16,340, but more efforts are needed from all Member States to ensure that all people eligible are relocated over the coming months, the EU press service reported.
“In March, we reached a new record number of people relocated. This is solidarity in action and a demonstration of responsibility. Now is the time for our Member States to deliver on their commitments and to intensify their efforts. Relocating all people eligible from Greece and Italy over the coming months is perfectly feasible. At the same time, we managed to resettle over two thirds of the 22,500 people we committed to offer a safe and legal path to in July 2015,” Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said.
According to the report, the pace of relocations has continued to increase, resulting in a 27% improvement on the best previous month. With more than 1,600 migrants taken from Greece and more than 800 from Italy, March saw a total of 2,465 persons relocated. As of 10 April, 16,340 relocations have now been carried out in total: 5,001 from Italy and 11,339 from Greece. However, despite this positive progress, the current pace of relocation is still well below the targets set to ensure that all people eligible are relocated over the coming months.
With around 14,000 relocation candidates remaining in Greece and around 3,500 registered for relocation so far in Italy, the total number of people eligible for relocation who are present in the two countries is well below what was foreseen in the Council decisions. Given these figures, if the Council-endorsed targets of at least 3,000 monthly relocations from Greece and 1,500 from Italy are met, relocating all eligible applicants currently present in Greece and Italy by September 2017 is perfectly achievable.
With the aim of removing the remaining operational and logistical bottlenecks in the relocation procedure, the Commission has targeted recommendations for specific Member States on how to improve the process all the way from making the pledge until the transfer takes place. Thus Member States should increase their capacity to process relocation requests and reduce the response time; avoid overly restrictive preferences and delays and limit requirements causing delays in the transfer procedure; show more flexibility; and give priority to applications concerning vulnerable people.
Whereas some Member States (Luxembourg and Portugal) are steadily progressing on their obligations for Greece and Italy, others (Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovakia) are relocating on a very limited basis. Whilst Austria has announced it will start relocating soon, others (Hungary and Poland) are still refusing to participate in the relocation scheme at all. So far, only two Member States (Malta and Finland) are on track to meet their obligations for both Italy and Greece in time.