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External EU action to address the refugee crisis


Joint Communication — JOIN(2015) 40 final — Refugee crisis in Europe: the role of EU External Action



It describes the measures the EU is taking beyond its borders to tackle the refugee crisis. Precedence is being given to initiatives that have an immediate impact on migration flows, although longer term action is required to tackle the root causes.

The communication is part of a broader package of proposals the European Commission has tabled to address the phenomenon.


The EU has allocated €96.8 billion for 2014-2020 for foreign policy and development cooperation.

The Commission has proposed a European Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to tackle the causes of migration on the continent.

The EU is using its diplomatic, financial and humanitarian resources to help Syrian and Iraqi refugees and neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey bearing the brunt of the exodus.

An EU plan is being put in place to manage migration flows through the western Balkans.

Regional strategies are being used to help parts of Africa such as the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Gulf of Guinea.

Individual programmes have been designed to help countries, like Libya, Niger, Mali, Central African Republic, Somalia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Yemen, with their specific problems.

The EU is actively engaged with United Nations organisations and other international partners to help countries hosting large numbers of displaced people and to manage refugee flows.

The EU is working with other countries, particularly in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Pacific, on agreements to return illegal migrants.

The EU is helping countries on its borders to fight the organised crime responsible for migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

Two high-level international conferences specifically focused on migration were held in autumn 2015:

The Valletta Summit on Migration (11-12 November 2015)


The EU is facing the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II. Since the beginning of 2015, it has mobilised all its foreign policy means to respond. These are guided by 3 aims: saving lives, protecting those in need and managing borders and refugee movements.


Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council — addressing the refugee crisis in Europe: the role of EU External Action (JOIN(2015) 40 final of 9.9.2015)

last update 24.11.2015