Press Statement – Research Unit

European Asylum Crisis: Towards Collective and Fair Reception of Refugees

More refugees than ever before are dying on their way to safe European ports. At the same time, the ever-increasing number of asylum applications in the European Union puts pressure on the asylum systems in some member states. Collective EU reception procedures could provide relief. SVR’s Research Unit and SWP propose joint EU contingents for resettlement and temporary protection. By means of a multi-factor model fair reception quotas for every member state can be determined.

Berlin, 12 May 2015. In a joint publication with Steffen Angenendt, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), SVR’s Research Unit recommends that refugees from countries such as Syria, Eritrea and Somalia be admitted to the European Union by means of collective procedures. Refugees from these crisis-torn countries are often granted protection following an individual asylum procedure and thus could be taken in more efficiently through a collective mechanism. This step could help prevent refugees from embarking on the life threatening journey across the Mediterranean Sea. The proposed actions contribute to the ongoing European debate in the run-up to the publication of the European Commission’s migration agenda this Wednesday. Two options for the collective reception of refugees are available: permanent resettlement and temporary protection. Resettlement programmes seek permanent residence for refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries as a response to war and persecution and whose need for protection has been clearly established. Schemes for temporary protection are designed to offer facilitated access to protection in the case of humanitarian crises, like the current one in Syria, with high numbers of displaced persons. „Europe needs to provide a united response to relieve the suffering of refugees, and all member states must take on their fair share“, said Dr. Jan Schneider, Head of SVR’s Research Unit. The authors suggest a fair system of shared responsibility based on a distribution key. The model takes into account the economic strength, population, size of territory and unemployment rate of individual EU member states.

In the new To The Point publication an example of a hypothetical EU-wide intake of 10,000 refugees through resettlement and/or temporary protection programmes is used to highlight the model’s effect on the distribution of refugees: The majority of EU member states would receive less than 300 refugees while around one in every three countries would have to take in less than 100. Only four countries would receive just over 1,000 persons. “Suggesting an initially small European contingent for a collective intake could increase chances of winning the support of those member states which have so far rejected any form of binding reception targets“, added Dr. Steffen Angenendt, Research Associate with the Global Issues Division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). The authors stressed that collective procedures must not be used as a substitute for the individual’s right to asylum but merely as a mechanism to lower the administrative burden in cases in which positive decisions are expected.

The To The Point publication is available for download here.

This press release can be be downloaded here.

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About the Expert Council‘s Research Unit

The Expert Council´s Research Unit conducts independent, practice-oriented research projects in the field of integration and migration. The project-based studies focus on emerging trends and issues with education as one of the main research focal points. The Research Unit complements the work of the Expert Council. The core funding is provided by the Stiftung Mercator.

The Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration is based on an initiative of the Stiftung Mercator and the Volkswagen Foundation. The initiative further includes: Bertelsmann Stiftung, Freudenberg Foundation, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and Vodafone Foundation Germany. The Expert Council is an independent nonprofit, monitoring, evaluating and advisory committee on integration and migration policy issues that provides action-oriented policy recommendations.