EU Commission Proposes Set of Immediate Actions to Tackle Migration CrisisEU | September 23, 2015, Wednesday // 18:18| views
Refugees covered in raincoats wait on the bridge spanning across Saalach river on the Austrian-German border near Freilassing, Germany, 23 September 2015. Photo EPA/BGNES
The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a set of priority actions to be taken within the next six months to tackle the current refugee crisis.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will present the measures to the informal summit of EU leaders tonight in Brussels.
"In spite of our fragility, our self-perceived weaknesses, today it is Europe that is sought as a place of refuge and exile. This is something to be proud of, though it is not without its challenges,” Juncker said in a statement ahead of the summit.
The European Agenda for Migration presented by the EU Commission in May set out a comprehensive approach to migration management. Since then, a number of measures have been introduced – including the adoption of two emergency schemes to relocate a total of 160,000 people in need of international protection from the Member States most affected to other EU Member States.
“The decision to relocate 160,000 people from the most affected Member States is a historic first and a genuine, laudable expression of European solidarity. It cannot be the end of the story, however. It is time for further, bold, determined and concerted action by the European Union, by its institutions and by all its Member States," Juncker said.
The priority actions for the next six months include full roll-out of the relocation schemes and migration management support teams working in hotspot areas; activating the civil protection mechanism or rapid border intervention teams to call on immediate practical support of the EU and other EU Member States; normalisation of the Schengen area and lifting internal border controls.
Stepping up the diplomatic efforts and intensifying cooperation with third countries are also among the priority actions called for by the EU Commission.
The Valletta summit on migration on 11-12 November will be an opportunity to show the new priority of migration issues in the EU’s relations with African partners, the Commission said. Next month’s high-level Conference on the Western Balkans route will be the place to discuss the common task of tackling today's pressures and restoring stability to the management of migration via the Western Balkans route.
Budgetary support measures include a proposal - to be put forward by the Commission next week - to add EUR 100M to the emergency funding for the most affected member states under the 2015 EU budget.
Increasing the funding for the three relevant EU agencies by €1.3 million to cover 60 staff for Frontex, 30 for EASO and 30 for Europol this year is also part of additional budgetary support measures, the Commission said. In addition, the emergency funding for the most affected member states and the funding for Frontex, EASO and Europol will be increased by EUR 600M for next year.
Restoring funding for food aid via the World Food Programme to 2014 levels, increasing humanitarian aid by EUR 300M next to be ready to help refugees' essential needs like food and shelter and boosting support for Syrian refugees are also part of the plan.
Another priority action is targeting work with EU’s immediate neighbours to help alleviate migratory pressure on the bloc.
The EU is ready to mobilise EUR 1B for Turkey and EUR 17M for Serbia and Macedonia to help the two countries tackle the migration challenge. The two non-EU states have become transit points for thousands of migrants and refugees trying to reach western Europe overland from Greece.
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