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Speed up refugee relocation, says EU

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Speed up refugee relocation, says EU

Refugees in Ankara, Turkey - Photo © The European Union

(BRUSSELS) - The resettlement and relocation efforts of EU Member States needs to be speeded up to avoid migrants returning to irregular routes, the European Commission said in a report Wednesday.

The Commission's latest progress report on the EU's emergency relocation and resettlement schemes, which assesses actions taken over the past month, shows increased resettlement efforts from EU Member States as part of the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement.

It reports that the number of relocations has increased to 2,280, with the rate having almost doubled since the Commission's third report on 18 May.

But Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said this needs to be speeded up: "As numbers of arrivals in Greece have gone down, the absolute onus now lies on significantly increasing and speeding up relocations. But we also cannot forget Italy, where the seasonal increase of arrivals is happening. This is a humanitarian obligation. At the same time, I commend the efforts made by Member States over the past months to resettle Syrian refugees from Turkey. Our progress in genuinely breaking the smugglers' business model will only be sustainable if a safe and legal channel is really open for asylum seekers."

Resettlement: since 4 April 2016, 511 Syrians have been resettled from Turkey to the EU, including 330 since the last report, and the number of Member States actively participating in the scheme has increased. Since the last progress report, in addition to Finland, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden, resettlements have now also taken place to Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal.

Based on the information received from the participating States, 7,272 persons had been resettled by 10 June 2016 under the resettlement scheme of 20 July 2015, mainly from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

Relocation: the number of relocations by 14 June was 2,280 (1,503 from Greece and 777 from Italy). This falls far short of the Commission's proposed target of relocating 6,000 people per month.

The Commission report acknowledges efforts made by some Member States and urges all to put in place effective planning to increase pledges and relocation transfers in the coming six months.

The Commission also calls for all actors to step up the relocation of vulnerable persons, in particular unaccompanied minors.

Further Information

Communication from the Commission: Fourth Report on Relocation and Resettlement

FACTSHEET – Relocation and Resettlement – State of Play

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