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On 15 November 2017, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) endorsed, on behalf of the Council, a mandate for negotiations on a regulation establishing an EU resettlement framework for the admission of persons in need of international protection. On the basis of this mandate, the presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament.
"Resettlement is a strategic instrument to manage migration flows. At the same time, resettlement is an important legal pathway to offer protection to those in real need," said Andres Anvelt, minister of interior of Estonia "It will help decrease flows to our own external borders, disrupt the business model of smugglers and balance the efforts done in other fields, for example in returns", he added.
The main objectives of this draft regulation are:
-providing for legal and safe pathways to the EU, reducing in the long term the risk of large-scale irregular arrivals
-providing common rules for resettlement and humanitarian admission
-effectively contributing to global resettlement and humanitarian admission initiatives
-helping to alleviate the pressure in third-countries to which a large number of persons in need of international protection have been displaced
EU ambassadors endorsed the text of the mandate on the understanding that the parts relating to other files of the common European asylum system (CEAS) reform will be revisited at a later stage.
Under the new framework, the Council will adopt a two year EU resettlement and humanitarian admission plan, on the basis of a proposal from the Commission. This plan will include the maximum total numbers of persons to be admitted, the contributions of member states to this number and the overall geographical priorities. Member states contribute to the EU resettlement and humanitarian admission plan on a voluntary basis.
Efforts by member states under this plan are supported by funding from the EU's budget.
Status and procedure
The draft regulation provides for two types of admission: resettlement and humanitarian admission.
It defines a common procedure, eligibility criteria and grounds for refusing admission, as well as common principles regarding the status to be granted to admitted persons. Given the expertise of UNHCR i in this field, it is also given a prominent role in this process.
EU member states currently have several common ongoing ad-hoc resettlement schemes, notably:
-the conclusions agreed on 20 July 2015 to resettle, through multilateral and national schemes, 22 504 persons in clear need of international protection
-the one-to-one and voluntary humanitarian admission schemes set out in the EU-Turkey statement of 18 March 2016
-the recommendation by the European Commission from 27 September 2017, calling on member states to offer places for 50 000 persons to be admitted by 31 October 2019
Following its Communication of 6 April 2016 on the reform of the common European asylum system and enhancing legal avenues to Europe, the Commission presented in May and in July seven legislative proposals, including the proposal for a resettlement regulation. These proposals seek to improve the functioning of the asylum system, reducing secondary movements, contributing to a fairer distribution among the member states of the responsibility to offer protection to those in need and providing legal and safe pathways to the EU.