EU’s Refugee Relocation Plans Desperately Need a Reality Check

By Katharine Jones

In a speech to the European Parliament on April 23, Juncker argued that we need is shared solidarity on managing the relocation of refugees. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), so far in 2015, almost 78,000 people have reached the EU by sea from Libya and Egypt, with the vast majority landing in Greece or Italy. This article by Katharine Jones discusses the EU’s Refugee Relocation Plans and why it needs a reality check.

The European Commission has announced that it will embark on an unprecedented mandatory emergency “relocation” of 40,000 Syrian and Eritrean refugees. The Commission proposes that women, men and children who arrive in Greece and Italy who “are in clear need of international protection” will be relocated to other EU member states. States will be offered €6,000 per individual relocated.

A bold plan driven by Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the Commission, initiatively gives life to proposals within the long-awaited EU Agenda on Migration, announced on May 13. Prompted by the scores of deaths among migrants in the Mediterranean and a clamour from Greece and Italy for EU assistance, the plan also leaves open the possibility of a future relocation scheme, meaning that other states might yet find themselves suddenly dealing with a clutch of new arrivals.

Trailing his initiative in a speech to the European Parliament on April 23, Juncker argued that “We cannot leave it solely to the member states directly concerned to manage the relocation of refugees. What we need is shared solidarity.”

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