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International protection – emergency help for Italy and Greece

International protection – emergency help for Italy and Greece

 

SUMMARY OF:

Decision (EU) 2015/1523 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece

Decision (EU) 2015/1601 establishing provisional asylum measures for the benefit of Italy and Greece

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THESE DECISIONS?

  • They establish provisional measures to help Italy and Greece cope with an influx of asylum-seekers from outside the EU in line with the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility.
  • As a result, a maximum of 160,000 people in need of asylum should be relocated from Greece and Italy to other EU countries over the 2015-2017 period.

KEY POINTS

  • Under Decision (EU) 2015/1523, 24,000 asylum-seekers will be relocated from Italy and 16,000 will be relocated from Greece to other EU countries.
  • Under Decision (EU) 2015/1601, 15,600 asylum-seekers will be relocated from Italy; 50,400 will be relocated from Greece; and after one year, 54,000 will be proportionally relocated to other EU countries from Italy and Greece (based on Annexes I and II to this decision). However, if in the intervening period further EU countries experience similar emergency situations to those of Italy and Greece, the European Commission will issue proposals to proportionally reallocate the asylum-seekers to the other EU countries. This was not the case.
  • For the first Council Decision, around 8,000 places were not allocated to any Member State. Under the second Council Decision, Member States can comply with their obligations in relation to 54,000 persons also via legal admission of Syrians from Turkey.
  • If an EU country of relocation is unable to accommodate its share of asylum-seekers, it must provide justified reasons (e.g. too much pressure on its asylum system) to the Commission and the Council of the EU. Once the Commission assesses the situation, it may grant the EU country a temporary suspension of the process of up to 30%.
  • Persons eligible for relocation are applicants for international protection duly identified, registered and fingerprinted who belong to a nationality with a 75% EU-wide recognition rate according to Eurostat data in the corresponding quarter and who have arrived in Italy and Greece in the timeframe foreseen in the Council Decisions.
  • An EU country can refuse to accept an asylum-seeker on the grounds that they are a threat to their national security, public order or where there are serious reasons for applying the exclusion provisions of the Qualification Directive.

Relocation process

  • The Council Decisions establish a compulsory system for the benefit of Italy and Greece, which means that neither the EU country of relocation nor the asylum seeker have a choice in the procedure.
  • Each EU country must:
    • establish a national contact point for exchanging information with other EU countries and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO);
    • nominate liaison officers to work with Italy and Greece;
    • indicate at regular intervals, and at least every 3 months, the number of applicants who can be relocated swiftly to their territory (formal pledges).
  • Asylum-seekers are identified, registered, fingerprinted and interviewed in Greece or Italy. Their profiles are drawn up with the help of EASO. From there, they are assigned to the EU country that best matches their profile. EU countries may indicate preferences for certain candidates to facilitate integration but these are not legally binding on Italy or Greece. The Greek and Italian authorities when doing the matching will take into account those preferences as well as any family, linguistic, social, cultural or other links that may exist between the individual applicant and the potential EU country of relocation.
  • Once approved by the receiving EU country, the transfer of the asylum-seeker takes place as soon as possible.
  • The whole relocation procedure, from the moment the EU country makes a formal pledge until the arrival of the asylum-seeker in the EU country of relocation, should not take more than 2 months, although exceptionally it may take up to 3.5 months.
  • Under both decisions, the EU countries of relocation will get €6,000 per relocated person.
  • Under Decision (EU) 2015/1601 Italy and Greece will also receive €500 for each person relocated to cover transport costs to the EU countries of relocation.
  • Both decisions include a limited and temporary exemption from Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 (also known as the Dublin III Regulation) which determines the EU country responsible for examining asylum applications).
  • Italy and Greece must draw up roadmaps to address structural deficiencies in their asylum, reception and return systems.
  • The Commission has been reporting on a regular basis on the implementation of the Council Decisions on relocation identifying bottlenecks and solutions.

FROM WHEN DO THE DECISIONS APPLY?

  • Decision (EU) 2015/1523 entered into force on 16 September 2015 and applies to persons arriving on the territory of Italy and Greece from 16 September 2015 to 17 September 2017, as well as to applicants having arrived on the territory of Italy and Greece from 15 August 2015 onwards.
  • Decision (EU) 2015/1601 entered into force on 25 September 2015 and applies to persons arriving on the territory of Italy and Greece from 25 September 2015 until 26 September 2017, as well as to applicants having arrived on the territory of Italy and Greece from 24 March 2015 onwards.

BACKGROUND

  • Both Italy and Greece experienced very large influxes in asylum seekers, predominantly from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea. This has put considerable stress on the asylum systems of both countries.
  • The legal basis for these decisions is Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, which states that: ‘In the event of one or more [EU countries] being confronted by an emergency situation characterised by a sudden inflow of nationals of [non-EU countries], the Council [of the EU], on a proposal from the Commission, may adopt provisional measures for the benefit of the [EU countries] concerned. It shall act after consulting the European Parliament.’
  • For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Council Decision (EU) 2015/1523 of 14 September 2015 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece (OJ L 239, 15.9.2015, pp. 146-156)

Council Decision (EU) 2015/1601 of 22 September 2015 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (OJ L 248, 24.9.2015, pp. 80-94)

The successive amendments to Decision (EU) 2015/1601 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council — Fifteenth report on relocation and resettlement (COM(2017) 465 final, 6.9.2017).

Previous Commission reports on the implementation of the relocation and resettlement schemes: COM(2016) 165 final; COM(2016) 222 final; COM(2016) 360 final; COM(2016) 416 final; COM(2016) 480 final; COM(2016) 636 final; COM(2016) 720 final; COM(2016) 791 final; COM(2017) 74 final; COM(2017) 202 final; COM(2017) 212 final; COM(2017) 260 final; COM(2017) 330 final; COM(2017) 405 final.

Regulation (EU) No 603/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on the establishment of ‘Eurodac’ for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person and on requests for the comparison with Eurodac data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes, and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 1-30)

Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 31-59)

See consolidated version.

last update 17.11.2016

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