Support the creation of adequate reception arrangements and management; Enhance protection monitoring through direct or indirect establishment of UNHCR presence at entry, transit and exit points along transit routes; Provide interpretation support to local authorities and NGOs in the different countries that engage with arrivals and refugees on the move to ensure better communication, profiling and identification of protection concerns, and facilitate the swift access of persons of concern to the asylum procedure; Assist the authorities and other relevant institutions with the identification and registration of new arrivals; Enhance the provision of relevant information and counseling to new arrivals and persons on the move on: their rights and obligations upon entry of the country of transit/asylum; the risks of irregular onward movement; and means of accessing the asylum procedure, family reunification, the EU relocation program, and options for resettlement outside the EU, when applicable; Strengthen public information and advocacy strategies to elicit wider understanding by the public, governments and stakeholders towards refugees; Enhance communication efforts to reach communities in countries of origin and first asylum through a more concerted use of mass communication channels and platforms, to inform of the dangers of irregular crossings and existing and emerging legal ways to enter Europe, as well as provide accurate information on their rights and obligations once in Europe and the overall situation, with a view to manage expectations and counter inaccurate information relayed by smugglers and traffickers. Global UNHCR recommendations UNHCR has two main global recommendations to address this crisis. 1. Financial and Political Support The humanitarian system is financially broke. We are no longer able to meet even the absolute minimum requirements of core protection and lifesaving assistance to preserve the human dignity of the people we care for. The current funding level for the 33 UN appeals to provide humanitarian assistance to 82 million people around the world is only 42%. UNHCR expects to receive just 47% of the funding we need this year. We have managed to avoid meaningful reductions of our direct support to refugee families, but at a high cost to our other activities. In light of this, UNHCR is appealing for more funding to meet the immediate needs of the hundreds of thousands of refugees we are currently serving in Europe. Our most recent appeal highlights the need for $128 million in total financial requirements for the Special Mediterranean Initiative from June 2015 to December 2016. \1\ In the current volatile and fast-changing environment, we are appealing to donors to provide contributions that can be allocated as flexible as possibly across the Europe region. \1\ file:///C:/Users/fisherc/Downloads/UNHCRSMISBAppealJune2015- December2016-30SEPT15.pdf 2. Resettlement Most refugees want to return home as soon as conditions allow; unfortunately continued conflict, wars and persecution prevent many refugees from being able to repatriate. Many also live in perilous situations or have specific needs that cannot be addressed in the country where they have sought protection. In such circumstances, UNHCR helps resettle refugees to a third country. Resettlement is the transfer of refugees from an asylum country to another State that has agreed to admit them and ultimately grant them permanent settlement. Resettlement is unique in that it is the only durable solution that involves the relocation of refugees from an asylum country to a third country. Of the 14.4 million refugees of concern to UNHCR around the world, less than one percent are submitted for resettlement. According to UNHCR's current assessments, about 10% of Syrian refugees--some 400,000 persons in total--are in need of resettlement. UNHCR is focussing its resettlement efforts on identifying and referring the most vulnerable refugees in the host countries of Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq. These particularly vulnerable refugees include survivors of torture and severe violence, women-headed households, refugees with serious medical needs, and others who remain at heightened risk. Resettlement remains an important tool for refugee protection, while also being an important expression of solidarity by the international community with the countries in the region that are hosting millions of Syrian refugees. UNHCR has already referred more than 45,000 Syrians for refugee resettlement, with more than 20,000 of those referrals made to the US. Although Syrian arrivals to the US have been fewer than 2,000 persons so far, we are encouraged by the stated intent of the US administration to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in US fiscal year 2016. Resettlement of 400,000 Syrians, a number not seen since the 1980s when millions of Southeast Asian refugees were resettled, will take a concerted international commitment over the next several years. To date, more than 30 countries have pledged 130,000 resettlement and humanitarian admission places for Syrian refugees. UNHCR is calling upon the international community to expand upon this generous initial response. Towards this end, UNHCR has also encouraged states to be flexible in their immigration laws and procedures and to offer family reunion and other migration opportunities for Syrian refugees. While UNHCR recognizes the need for all states to have thorough security screening measures applied to all refugees and immigrants, including Syrians, UNHCR has called upon states to find ways to make these necessary procedures as fair, efficient and as timely as possible. UNHCR is dedicated to working with states to ensure that resettlement program remain safe and secure for both refugees and for receiving states. I'd like to emphasize that, as is the case with other refugee populations globally, permanent resettlement to another country is--and will remain--a solution for only a small percentage of the Syrian refugees. Even if countries significantly increase the number of resettlement places and related opportunities that they offer, the vast majority of the Syrian refugees will remain in the Syria region. For that reason, resettlement must be approached as a critical part of a comprehensive international response to the Syrian humanitarian crisis; a response that also includes robust humanitarian assistance to the Syrian refugees and to the governments and communities in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and elsewhere that are so generously hosting these refugees. Conclusion We must call upon our shared humanity, histories, and sacred traditions of providing refuge to persons fleeing conflict and persecution, and remember that it was exactly for times like these that the international refugee protection regime was created. Let us recognize the reality of human displacement, remain true to the rule of law, and acknowledge the positive contributions that refugees and migrants make to our societies. To quote the High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, ``This is the starting point: there is no easy solution. And so, those who believe that the easy solution is to close doors should forget about it. When a door is closed, people will open a window. If the window is closed, people will dig a tunnel. If there is a basic need of survival, a basic need of protection, people will move, whatever obstacles are put in their way--those obstacles will only make their journeys more dramatic.'' Mr. Shelly Pitterman is the UNHCR Regional Representative for the USA and the Caribbean. He joined UNHCR in 1984 and served in Yei, Sudan (1984-1988); Headquarters Geneva on the Somalia Desk (1988-1990); N'zerekore, Guinea (1990-1992); and as the UNHCR Representative in Burundi (1992-1995). During his four year tenure as the Chief of UNHCR's Resettlement Section, the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement began and the UNHCR Handbook on Resettlement was first introduced. He then established UNHCR's Regional Support Center in Nairobi, Kenya before returning to Geneva as Deputy Director of the Human Resource Management Division. In 2005, he was seconded to UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency) to be the Director of Operations serving Palestinian refugees in Jordan. He returned to UNHCR in 2008 to lead UNHCR's Human Resources Management Division, a position he held until his appointment to Washington. Mr. Pitterman is a native of New York City. He is a graduate of Brandeis University and earned his doctorate from Northwestern University. Prepared Statement of Djerdj Matkovic, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the United States Chairman Smith, Co-Chairman Wicker, Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen; Thank you for the invitation to testify before you today on the issue of the migrant crises in Europe. I would also like to thank you for organizing this important hearing, which highlights the fact that the complexity and the magnitude of this problem makes it incumbent upon all of us to give full and serious attention to it. I am here to offer the views of the Republic of Serbia, the chair- country of the OSCE as well as the country which is at the very center of the Western Balkan migration routes. Today's global migration scenario shows how migratory movements are driven, often inseparably, by traditional economic pull and push factors, as well as by instability and the lack of security in a growing number of local contexts. The migrant crisis, bursting through and over the political, administrative and civilization borders, speaks tellingly of the inter-relatedness of faraway countries and peoples, highlighting the consequent need for a responsible and energetic approach to the quest for a lasting and comprehensive solution to this burning issue. Partial and limited local steps are not a solution. In the process of solving these problems, the support of all of us, the Member States of the most important multilateral organizations, including the OSCE, is of paramount importance. The OSCE region is witnessing the largest refugee influx in decades. Apart from being a significant economic challenge, this is a process with potentially very serious security implications and the cause of concern in regards to the respect for human rights. As the international community is struggling to find responses that reconcile refugee protection and human rights commitments with security considerations, the OSCE for its part reflects on the role it could play in supporting the shared interests of its participating States and Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation. As the world's largest regional security arrangement under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, the OSCE is in a distinctive position to contribute to the handling and resolution of the current crises. Its comprehensive and multi- dimensional approach to security is a unique asset. Traditionally, OSCE decisions have largely framed the OSCE mandate on migration within the second dimension. As a result, the Office of the Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Activities (OCEEA) has been tasked with assisting in the implementation of OSCE commitments, particularly in the areas of comprehensive labor migration management, gender aspects of labor migration policies, and migration data collection and harmonization. Over the years, the OSCE has also widened its third dimension's mandate, including issues related to migrants' integration and the protection of human rights of vulnerable migrant groups. The Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) promotes the development and implementation of legal and regulatory frameworks that respect the rights of migrants, with special attention to the vulnerable categories. Further roles and responsibilities have been progressively allocated to Executive Structures and specialized units in response to the evolving nature of the migration phenomenon, which has been shaped by the many trends that have come to characterize the increasingly inter-connected OSCE region. In particular: Conflict Prevention Center for the protection of persons at risk of displacement or already affected by it in all phases of the conflict cycle, including cooperation with specialized agencies such as UNHCR. Gender Section for addressing the specific aspirations and vulnerabilities of migrant women. Office of the Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for the protection of the rights of victims of trafficking who have been involved in vulnerable migration processes, particularly if irregular migrants. TNTD/Strategic Police Matters Unit, Border Security and Management Unit (BSMU) and Action against Terrorism Unit (ATU) for migration-related crimes, in particular human trafficking and migration smuggling as well as enhancing Travel Document Security (TDS) as an integral part of strengthening border management. OSCE Field Operations have also been increasingly involved in migration-related activities and projects although they have been unevenly mandated, reflecting the diversity of agreements with the host countries and the different local priorities and needs. As the presiding country Serbia recognizes the importance of this issue and is trying to provide more active and concrete approach of the OSCE in addressing it. In light of this bleak security situation and looming instability, it is paramount that all the mechanisms that were designed and adopted by the participating States to oversee the implementation of commitments are strong and functioning. At the initiative of our presidency a Joint Meeting of the Security Committee, the Economic and Environmental Committee and the Human Dimension Committee on Migration was held in Vienna on October 6th. In the conclusions of the meeting, among others, the following specific courses of action and proposals of activities are listed: First Dimension: Maximum use of all three platforms (border management, the police and the fight against terrorism) for exchange of information with a special focus on the fight against trafficking and smuggling. This in particular since it has been determined that a large percentage of migrants are among the total number of victims of trafficking. Second Dimension: Intensification of cooperation with other international organizations dealing with migratory movements, as well as activities to implement obligations in the field of labor migration. Third Dimension: Ensuring full respect for the obligations in the field of human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination, freedom of movement, integration of migrants and so forth. ODIHR stands ready to carry out missions in the field and provide support to member countries at their request, in assessing the situation in the light of respect for human rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, and respect for their freedom of movement. As the OSCE chair-country Serbia supports the position of the US by which the concrete ideas for OSCE activities in terms of migration crises should be put into the context of the preparation of the upcoming Mediterranean Conference in Jordan, as well as the OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade. The Serbian Chairmanship is pursuing an ambitious package of Ministerial Council Decisions in view of the forthcoming Belgrade Meeting. Only in the field of the human dimension 9 Ministerial Council Decisions are now under consultation with participating States. As we start negotiating in the coming days, we intend to incorporate into the draft decisions as many concrete recommendations as possible. Mr. Chairman, Allow me to point out that Serbia is not dealing with this issue only in the capacity of the OSCE chair country. The migrant wave from the conflict-ridden areas, flooding many European countries, has not by-passed my country. Although Serbia is not the final destination for most of the migrants and refugees, it has found itself at the very center of the Western Balkans migration routes and almost all migrants and refugees coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other unstable areas, primarily from the Middle East, have transited through it, heading to the countries of Western and Northern Europe via the two EU Member States--Greece and Bulgaria. It is important to notice that the numbers of migrants on the ``Western Balkan route'' were constantly rising since 2009 and thus, this is not an entirely new problem. What is essentially new is that in 2015 we are facing a dramatic increase in their numbers. Using the figures--from the beginning of this year until the October 8th, the Republic of Serbia has registered over 200.000 irregular migrants. The tendency is such that these numbers will not subside, but only increase. Migrants who enter our territory are being registered (including fingerprints taken) and provided with accommodation, food and medical care. The way in which we have dealt with this pressure and the various aspects of the migrant crisis, namely our approach and empathy that was demonstrated so far, were very positively evaluated by both EU institutions and EU member states, as well as by the migrants themselves and by the Arab countries. While this can make us proud, it is obvious that the burden we bear during this crisis is becoming increasingly difficult. Specifically, aside from the financial coasts of the current crisis, Serbia is almost for two decades now, dealing with over 500,000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons from wars in Yugoslavia from 1990's. In a nutshell, all of the experiences we had, either directly or indirectly, during the crisis have demonstrated to all of us that the solution (or solutions) for this crisis cannot be based on partial or local steps (such as closing borders or building fences). Cooperation and coordination within the international community a must. It is necessary to reach a comprehensive and sustainable solution, as soon as possible, at the EU level, to include also transit countries on the Western Balkan route. We wish to be part of this common solution and we are ready to take our share of responsibility, once the European Union agrees a migrant crisis settlement strategy. I would like to point out that Serbia will continue to be a credible EU partner and treat the migrants in a manner that is fully consistent with European and international standards. We are also committed to actively participating in the implementation of all agreed upon today, including comprehensive border management. On a more global scale, aside from greater solidarity, there should be an increased readiness for the political response to the source of the current crisis. That means more readiness to seek political solutions and for creating conditions for sustainable peace and development at the source of the crisis. The alternative to such actions is much worse and that would lead to further deterioration of the situation and degenerate into a humanitarian crisis, with hardly conceivable magnitude and consequences. Thank you for your attention. Mr. Djerdj Matkovic was born in Subotica, Serbia, on May 28, 1955. He graduated from the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Law in 1978, International Law and International Organizations. Career Since February 2015: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Serbia in the United States April 2014-February 2015: Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Mr. Aleksandar Vucic August 2012-April 2014: Foreign Policy Advisor to the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Mr. Aleksandar Vucic February 2012-July 2012: Chief of Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia 2011-2012: Director of the Department for North and South America at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia 2007-2011: First Counselor at the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Washington, D.C., USA 2006-2007: Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia 2005-2006: Deputy Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro 2001-2005: Minister Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the FR of Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro) in Budapest, Hungary 1998-2001: Counselor--Chief of Cabinet of the Assistant Secretary for Bilateral Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1993-1998: First Secretary at the Embassy of the FR of Yugoslavia in Harare, Zimbabwe 1990-1993: First Secretary--Chief of Cabinet of the Under Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1986-1990 Third Secretary at the Embassy of the SFR of Yugoslavia in Ottawa, Canada 1982-1986: Attache and Third Secretary at the Department for Neighboring Countries at the Federal Secretariat of Foreign Affairs 1981-1982: Trainee at the Federal Secretariat of Foreign Affairs of the SFR of Yugoslavia Mr. Matkovic speaks English and Hungarian; Married, spouse Vera and son Djerdj Jr. Prepared Statement of Sean Callahan, Chief Operating Officer, Catholic Relief Services Chairman Smith, Co-Chairman Wicker, thank you very much for calling this hearing to consider how the US and Europe can better respond to the plight of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to Europe in recent months. Chairman Smith, your long-standing commitment to protecting the poor and marginalized across the globe and in places long forgotten is a profound demonstration of the compassion and solidarity Pope Francis asks us all to engender. I am Sean Callahan, Chief Operating Officer of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CRS is the official humanitarian relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in the United States. We serve nearly 100 million people annually with local partners in more than 100 countries. I recently traveled to the Balkans to witness firsthand CRS' response to the refugees entering by the thousands every day. It is heart-breaking to imagine walking in their shoes; to imagine one's own life in such chaos. First, suffering violence in one's home community; then biding time in a neighboring country, humbly accepting charity. And then finally to conclude that your family has no future and so someone must undertake a supreme act of love and sacrifice, risking a treacherous and unknown journey so that the rest of the family may live. Khaled, who came to Serbia with his wife and four children after their apartment in Aleppo was bombed, told us, ``I was swimming alongside the boat, with Ronya (age two and one-half) wrapping her arms around me and clinging her head to my neck. It was a rubber boat and very slow. So I could keep pace.'' Khaled's eight-year-old daughter, Omama, told us proudly, ``My Daddy is very strong. When we went from Syria to Turkey, we walked over hills and mountains. And most of the time he was carrying Joud (six months old) and Ronya in a big backpack. And sometimes he was also carrying me.'' Despite immense generosity and hospitality on the part of the governments of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, the scale of suffering has outpaced their ability to respond. It has also overwhelmed the capacity of the international humanitarian and refugee systems. CRS and our partners have assisted nearly 800,000 people and spent over $110 million in the last three years in response to the Syrian crisis. Many other international non-governmental organizations (iNGOs) and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), as well as new donors like the Gulf States, have committed significant resources to respond to this crisis. Despite these generous responses, the exodus to Europe cries out that so much more must be done. As global leaders in international humanitarian and refugee response, the US and Europe must find new and creative ways to help to alleviate this suffering and protect the vulnerable. Pope Francis has led in this effort to do more by asking every Catholic parish in Europe to reach out and assist the refugees; He reminds us of our moral obligation to help the stranger. In my testimony, I offer first, CRS' analysis of the current exodus to Europe; second, CRS' response to those in need and third, our recommendations for how to move forward not only to address the extraordinary humanitarian needs in Europe but also the longer-term needs in refugee host countries. Exodus to Europe During my recent visit to Europe, I was amazed by the rapid pace and fluidity with which the refugees are moving. The scale of movement is also noteworthy: as many as 6,000 people passed into Serbia one day; the average is 4,500 people a day. Most are guided by their cell phones; information from family or friends who preceded them; and social media. The UN reports that two-thirds of the refugees fleeing to Europe are from refugee-producing countries: predominantly Syrians; while most of the others are Iraqis--largely Kurds--and Afghans. This matches CRS' experience. The Syrians are from Kobani, Tartous, and Hassake, among other places, but many had already fled Syria and had been residing in neighboring countries. Some are coming in family groups. These refugees brought only what they could carry. As the Washington Post and others have reported, we have come across a smattering of other opportunistic economic migrants, but they are not the majority by far. Many of the Afghans had been living in Turkey for years. Nevertheless, those fleeing are not the poorest of the poor: it costs about $3,000 per person currently to cross the Mediterranean. People are traveling using their smartphones, without guides or other assistance. They hire drivers or ride buses from one border to the next. Some report exploitation in the form of extortion and robbery. As entrepreneurial individuals offer services such as transportation, the risk of this exploitation will continue. Most of the refugees with whom I met traveled through Greece and Macedonia; some through Bulgaria. Most did not travel by boat but rather through Turkey. Many refugees have discovered they can traverse southern Europe more quickly by bypassing the major cities such Belgrade, and the registration process. Individuals are moving astonishingly fast--spending a few hours in Macedonia. The route is very fluid, changing based on what successful travelers report out about border openings. Our partnership with faith-based organizations enables us to respond quickly to these shifts. Like way stations on a marathon route, we aim to be punctual and flexible. This response will become more challenging with the onset of winter: the need for shelter, medical assistance, and warmer clothes will increase the risk of the journey. CRS' Response CRS is working with partners in Serbia, Greece, Macedonia, Albania and Croatia to meet the needs of tens of thousands of refugees. As the Chairman knows, CRS operates as part of the international umbrella of Caritas Internationalis--the Catholic social service agencies throughout the world. Caritas agencies throughout Europe have been responding to the plight of Syrians, and CRS is helping them to rapidly scale up in response to the immense needs. Given the scale of need, CRS is partnering with other faith-based organizations as well. In a symbol of the healing salve of time, we are working with Muslim and Orthodox partners. Likewise, our funding is interfaith: the Church of Latter Day Saints and Islamic Relief have funded CRS. As always, CRS is leveraging private money with public money to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. We anticipate spending at least $2 million into next year on the response in Europe, including with a grant to Caritas Germany. Program activities include meeting basic needs. Food and emergency living supplies are being provided to families including women, children and the elderly; they include sleeping bags and mats, hygiene packages, food rations, clean water and other support. Most refugees in transit are sleeping in public parks, forests and abandoned factories. CRS and our partners in Serbia have established several large structures equipped with beds, toilets and showers to provide basic shelter and sanitary needs for the most vulnerable refugees, particularly those who returned from Hungarian border. Doctors on staff in Serbia treat hundreds of refugees at a refugee aid center near the Hungarian border. Finally, CRS and our Church partners provide critical information, legal resources, translation and language services, so refugees know their rights and can make informed decisions. As winter approaches, assistance will become more complex and more costly. As faith-based organizations, we serve not only refugees' physical needs, but also are sensitive to their spiritual ones. For example, on September 24, we joined other aid organizations to organize an Eid celebration for Muslim refugees. CRS and our partners' assistance throughout the Middle East runs the gamut: from distribution of non-food items and food to legal support; from medical assistance to water and sanitation. We have focused in particular on emergency education, child-friendly spaces, and psycho-social support. In one particularly innovative project, we partnered with No Strings International (the creators of the Muppets) to create culturally appropriate videos to help children process trauma and facilitate peacebuilding. Through trainings of trainers, we have exported this program throughout the region. We primarily work outside of camps, where most of the refugees live. Why this new movement now? A steadily growing sense of hopelessness as their situation deteriorates seems to be the catalyst for most fleeing. They can no longer live with such uncertainty for their future or their families'. Life in Syria has become too difficult and violent, but dreams cannot be realized in a country where one is but a guest. To name violence as the cause of this flight is necessary but not sufficient. Violence is not new. Yet as it becomes more complex, the dangers weigh more heavily. A certain randomness as to who is bombing whom exacerbates the fear and uncertainty. The refugees with whom we spoke do feel that Assad is more vulnerable now. (Though it is noteworthy that this was before the Russian airstrikes began.) The unknown of who might fill that power vacuum--and the possibility that it could be a radical group--can be terrifying. Fear of the self- proclaimed called Islamic State and how it will operate overshadows communities in their proximity. Particularly in Iraq, people would not be nearly so fatalistic were it not for the presence of the self- proclaimed Islamic State. Beginning last year, refugees with whom we work in the region began to voice despair. Many had given up the idea of returning to Syria anytime soon. And unless children can go to school and parents can provide for their families in the refugee host communities, integration into these host communities will be unrealistic. \1\ We know that many refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, particularly religious minorities, have not registered with the UN and may be moving as assistance in the region contracts. Some male refugees decline to register to avoid being recruited, and some flee Syria for fear of forced recruitment. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ There are traditionally three options for refugees in the long-term (known as ``durable solutions''): return to their home country; integration in the host country to which they fled and have been living; or resettlement to a third country. Resettlement is usually a reality for less than 1% of the population. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- We also know that many of the Syrians fleeing are educated and entrepreneurial. CRS and our partners have hired many: as teachers, engineers, and outreach workers. The inability to work in refugee host communities affects not only their economic but also their psychological well-being. The inability to work legally leads to negative coping strategies, including early marriages, prostitution, and child labor, among others. CRS commends the Government of Jordan for its recent authorization for refugees to work. When refugees can legally work, NGOs can engage in livelihoods programs to help them become more self-sufficient. The remote likelihood of returning to Syria in the near future, and the possibility of finding opportunity in Europe appear to be the main reasons so many have determined that the journey is worth the risk. Some families' coping strategy, as resources wear thin, is to send one worker to Europe who can send remittances back to the family. This would enable the rest of the family to remain in the region, where cultural and family ties, not to mention cost of living, make life easier. Nonetheless, unless education and work opportunities for Syrians in Syria's neighboring countries can be vastly scaled up, the family member in Europe will almost certainly eventually send for the rest of the family. The exodus of Syrians and Iraqis from the region signals a new phase in the Syrian conflict. Despite efforts by INGOs like CRS, local civil societies, governments, and non-traditional donors, the despair of so many refugees indicates that assistance must move beyond short- term band-aids to longer-term solutions. To that end, CRS offers the following recommendations. Recommendations Resolve to end the conflict. The Administration should commit to high-level negotiations towards a political solution to the conflict in Syria. As the violence escalates, the time is ripe. The Administration should work urgently and tirelessly with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities. To respond adequately to the situation in Europe, the Department of State's bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) should fund international private organizations directly. The agility and speed required to respond to the scale and fluidity of this flight to Europe demands the shortest funding routes possible. By mandate, PRM gives the majority of its funding through four agencies, including UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration. Yet direct funding of operational agencies will help to get assistance on the ground faster and navigate potential governmental barriers. Staffing limitations to manage funding within PRM can be creatively solved through mechanisms such as consortia, which have worked well elsewhere. The US government should galvanize greater support for the regional strategy--with traditional and new donors such as the Gulf States--to support medium-term integration of humanitarian and development assistance in refugee host communities. This will help families to envision a future in countries of potential integration, and reduce tension among host communities. If many refugees will remain in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey for the foreseeable future, a focus on helping them to thrive and integrate, rather than merely survive, should be the aim of humanitarian and development strategies. The World Bank and other development organizations do not operate in these countries because they are considered middle income; but extraordinary times in fragile states call for extraordinary measures. Development organizations can help to facilitate such a strategy by supporting the host country schools, medical facilities, and economic development, among other institutions and activities. Gulf States could help by significantly increasing their reception of ``guest workers.'' (Those governments are not signatories to the international refugee convention, but have allowed refugees to work there.) Congress should robustly fund both humanitarian and development assistance in host countries beyond previous fiscal years. With $4.5 billion in funding to date to the region, the US has led traditional donors in assistance. We must continue robust funding and seek to collaborate with other donors, including the Gulf States, to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Gregory Maniatis of the Migration Policy Institute estimates that an adequate response would cost on the order of $20 billion in the region and around $30 billion per year in Europe. For Fiscal Year 2016, the US should fund no less than was appropriated in Fiscal Year 2015. CRS and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops support the Middle East Refugee Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2016 (S. 2145) released last week by Senators Graham and Leahy, which, if enacted, would provide an additional $1 billion for BPRM. Redouble efforts at protection, particularly education of children. UNICEF's No Lost Generation campaign reminds us that a child without an education will suffer throughout life. According to UNICEF, as many as 1.5 million of the refugees are children, and many of them are out of school. The cumulative impact on Syria's development will be significant. As Pope Paul VI once said, ``war is development in reverse.'' The United States should increase its funding for emergency education and other protection efforts, including psycho-social support and child-friendly spaces. Continue the United States' historic leadership in refugee resettlement: the Administration should significantly increase the numbers of refugees resettled in the United States. When the US helps to resettle particularly vulnerable populations, including religious and ethnic minorities and those with complex medical needs, it helps to ease the burden of neighboring countries hosting particularly large refugee populations. Our colleagues at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops resettle a significant number of refugees in the United States and can speak to the requirements necessary to scale up. The Administration must work diligently to make resettlement more effective and efficient for these vulnerable populations. With the UN, the Administration must strengthen support for and adherence to UN Security Council resolutions 2139 and 2165 calling for greater humanitarian access within Syria. \2\ A paltry percentage of the more than 400,000 Syrians in besieged areas receive assistance, due to lack of access. Unless the United States and other actors reinforce these resolutions, both these lives and the future of international humanitarian law are at great risk. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \2\ Resolution 2139 (February 2014) demands that parties ``promptly allow rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access,'' and Resolution 2165 (July 2014) authorizes UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners to provide cross-border assistance with notification to (rather than the consent of) the Syrian government. As the chief operating officer for Catholic Relief Services, Sean Callahan is responsible for Overseas Operations, U.S. Operations and Human Resources, and for ensuring CRS' fidelity to its mission to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, foster charity and justice, and embody Catholic social and moral teaching. His role is to enhance performance, stimulate innovation and --------------------------------------------------------------------------- position CRS for the future. Sean's commitment to CRS Sean was executive vice president for Overseas Operations from June 2004 to September 2012. He provided oversight for a program and management portfolio which grew to more than $700 million, serving people in more than 100 countries and engaging a team of more than 5,000 staff. As regional director for South Asia from January 1998 to May 2004, Sean strengthened CRS' programming and partnerships in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. He worked closely with Blessed Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, represented CRS at the Asian Bishops Synod in 1998, and led the regional response to floods, droughts, earthquakes, cyclones and man-made emergencies. He experienced a terrorist attack by the Tamil Tigers at the Sri Lankan airport, and championed programming in Afghanistan during and after the Taliban's rule. Immediately before his assignment to South Asia, he served as director of Human Resources for CRS at our world headquarters in Baltimore, and previously as the director of the CRS Nicaragua program. He also worked in other Central American locations and at headquarters in various capacities. Education and other roles Sean holds a master's in law and diplomacy from Tufts University, where he also received a bachelor's, magna cum laude, in Spanish. Sean is on the Board of Trustees for Catholic Charities USA (2014- present) and on the Executive Committee and Representative Council of Caritas Internationalis (2011-2015). He is also the president of Caritas North America (2015-2019). More about Sean Sean and his wife, Piyali, have two children, Sahana and Ryan. Sean is a member of the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City, Maryland. Prepared Statement of David O'Sullivan, Ambassador of the European Union to the United States I would like to thank you, in particular, Chairman Smith and your Co-Chairman Senator Wicker, as well as the other members of the Commission for giving me the opportunity to present the main components of the EU's response to the refugee crisis. I am David O'Sullivan the European Union ambassador to the United States, a position I have held for just about a year and it is an honor to speak to you today about what the press refers to as ``the migration crisis in Europe.'' The ongoing refugee crisis is not a European crisis. It is a global crisis, fuelled by conflicts, inequality and poverty, the consequences of which unfolded in Europe but the roots of which are far away from our continent. This does not mean that we as Europeans do not have a responsibility to respond to it. Nevertheless, we are seeking a global response to achieve a lasting solution to the conflicts, instability and poverty, which are the main causes of the refugee crisis, working closely with our international partners. This crisis is also a sensitive issue for Europeans. While some of our Member States are facing major economic difficulties, many of our fellow citizens wonder about our capacity to welcome and integrate new waves of migrants. However, I also want to emphasize that European citizens have offered unprecedented support to the refugees. Civil society is showing a vibrancy that often goes unreported but is strong, moving and comforting and provides first help to thousands of refugees across Europe. Among the many examples I have in mind, I would like to point out the incredible signs of support expressed by Greek citizens to migrants. While Greece is still facing a severe economic crisis, local people in islands like Kos or Lesbos have continued to donate food and other basic supplies to help the refugees. In Italy, a country which has encountered economic difficulties for some time, 300 families from Lombardy have responded to the appeal of the Archbishop of Milano, Cardinal Scola, by offering to host refugees in their homes. I also want to mention the throngs of people joining marches and vigils across Europe in a show of solidarity with refugees, with almost 30,000 people in Stockholm. And of course, it is impossible to forget the images of Syrian migrants being welcomed at train stations in Germany and Austria. Overview of the situation Whether one looks at the numbers or at the images, the current refugee crisis is of unprecedented magnitude. We are confronted with a multi-faceted phenomenon, comprising economic migration on one side and asylum seekers on the other side, with despair and quest for security and a better life as their common denominator. By October 2015, 710,000 migrants and refugees had entered the European Union this year, while only 282,000 migrants crossed EU borders for the whole of 2014. I want to underline that the migration crisis is of a mixed nature, comprising economic migration on one side and ``forced migration'' of asylum seekers on the other side. It is important to keep the question of economic migrants separate from the issue of refugees. This calls for different types of responses from the European Union. We have a responsibility to show solidarity and put in place the adequate mechanisms of reception for refugees. By virtue of international law, refugees have a right to protection. No state, regardless of whether it has signed the U.N. Refugee Convention, can return a refugee to a place where his life would be endangered. On the other hand, migrants, whose motivations are primarily economic and who are not entitled to international protection and cannot be legally admitted will be provided temporary accommodation, while appropriate mechanisms are put in place for their return to their countries of origin in accordance with the international rules and standards. The EU response We all understand that ultimately, only political solutions to the conflicts combined with economic development in the host countries will provide a lasting solution to the migration and refugee crisis in Europe. At the political level, we need to work hard to find solutions to conflicts such as the ones in Syria and Libya. To do this, we need to intensify our diplomatic engagement with all relevant international partners. In parallel, a lot of work needs to be done on the root causes of migration in the main countries of origin. At the operational level, we continue to work hard in order to provide support to those who need it, respecting human rights and providing protection notably for the most vulnerable. We have taken steps to deal with migration crisis a long time before it hit the headlines. We have mobilized our instruments, with three objectives: (i) to save lives, (ii) to ensure protection to those in need and (iii) to manage borders and mobility. We launched rescuing operations Poseidon and Triton and tripled our presence at sea. Over 122,000 lives have been saved; Member States have agreed to relocate 160,000 refugees from Greece, Italy and other Member States directly affected by the refugee crisis. On October 9th, a first flight took off from Rome, Italy carrying migrants to Sweden. This solidarity is based on the shared understanding by Member States that geography should not determine the burden to bear; The EU has launched a crisis management operation (EUNAVFOR MED)--which aims at disrupting the business model of migrant smuggling in the Southern Central Mediterranean and has now entered the second, active phase. In this context let me thank for a constructive approach of the US in the UN Security Council on that issue; The EU has led the international humanitarian response since the beginning of the Syria crisis with more than =4.1 billion mobilised. Member States and the Commission announced on September 23rd an additional contribution of =1 billion to UN agencies and the World Food Program; The EU has established the EU regional Trust Fund for Syria (Madad Fund) with more than =500 million funding in order to enhance resilience in refugee hosting countries around Syria and provide opportunities for refugees to pursue livelihoods, have access to education and labour market; The EU is also setting up the Emergency Trust Fund For Africa focused on addressing the root causes of irregular migration from Africa; The EU is also significantly strengthening its support to transit countries in the Western Balkan which are under enormous pressure in handling the refugee flows. An important high-level conference on the Eastern Mediterranean/Western Balkan migratory route took place recently in Luxembourg (8 October); We step up our support to and strategic dialogue with Turkey, which is a key country in the region hosting a large bulk of the refugees. We have just negotiated with Turkish authorities a Joint Action Plan aimed at addressing the phenomenon in a spirit of partnership and burden-sharing. The EU will make available =1 billion for refugee-related actions in 2015-16, in order to support refugees and their Turkish host communities and strengthen cooperation to prevent irregular migration; The High Representative is holding High Level Dialogues on migration with key Third countries in order to identify leverage and enhance cooperation in the area of migration. Cooperation on return and readmission of those who are not entitled to stay is also an important aspect in this context; An effective response to the current requires us to work closely together, as the international community, to address both its consequences but also the root causes. Since the beginning of the crisis, we have worked closely with our international partners, including the US, to formulate a global response. We welcome considerable humanitarian assistance provided by the US authorities in the context of the refugee crisis so far. We hope that there will be opportunity to cooperate more with the US also in order to provide more resilience and opportunities for the refugees in the region. Appreciating the involvement of the US in the crisis, especially as regards resettlement, the UE is counting strongly on the US to heighten its efforts, including by expanding the resettlement quotas. Next steps Undoubtedly, the refugee crisis has generated major challenges for the European Union. We have been able to take major steps to build a common approach and common policies based on solidarity and responsibility. In order to deal with issues that have long been seen as internal affairs at the heart of their sovereignty, EU Member States have agreed to develop a strong and multi-dimensional EU response. On November 11-12, European heads of state and government will convene with key African countries to tackle the roots of economic migration in Africa during the Valletta Summit on Migration. On November 13, the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meeting will take place to discuss the matter in details and exchange experience and best practice in managing migratory flows. Over the next 6 months, the European Commission will also bring forward new major legislative proposals to implement a robust system that will bear the test of time. By December 2015, the Commission will come forward with a proposal to strengthen Frontex and enhance its mandate in the context of discussions over the development of a European Border and Coast Guard System, giving it the competence and financial resources it needs to run return operations and to support member States. To reinforce the overall migration and asylum policy of the EU, the Commission will also table a proposal for a permanent resettlement scheme and further reform of the Dublin Regulation in March 2016. In addition, the Commission will table a legal migration package including the revision of the Blue Card, the EU work permit for highly qualified workers, in March 2016. The EU will also continue to provide protection to those who come to European as well as continue its efforts to establish safe and legal means for asylum seekers to seek protection in Europe without risking their lives, for instance through expanded resettlement. It is crucial to protect people in need of protection in a humane way--regardless of which EU Member State they arrive in. The EU and its Member States are firmly committed to the promotion and protection of the human rights of migrants. Despite the influx, we do not remove or return genuine refugees, we respect the fundamental rights of all persons arriving in the EU, and we invest major resources in saving lives at sea. No flow of refugees justifies the catastrophic humanitarian conditions that we have seen earlier this month. This is why we need better harmonised procedures, better cooperation and shared standards across the globe. This is why the involvement of Europe has been increasing. We will also closely monitor how the situation evolves in Turkey and in other countries neighbouring Syria and further adapt our policies accordingly, keeping as a priority international protection and humanitarian assistance to those in need. Despite the challenges which remain ahead of us, I strongly believe that the refugee crisis can actually make the European Union stronger and more resilient. Thank you for this opportunity to discuss such an important issue with you. Prior to arriving in the United States, David O'Sullivan served as the Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service. The EEAS supports the High Representative/Vice President of the European Commission, in fulfilling her mandate to ensure the consistency of the Union's external action. The EEAS also assists the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission in the area of external relations. David O'Sullivan was Director General for Trade from 2005 to 2010. Previously he was Secretary General of the European Commission from June 2000 to November 2005, Head of Cabinet of Commission President Romano Prodi and Director General for Education and Training. He started his career in the Irish Foreign Ministry and spent four years in the Commission Delegation in Tokyo. He also has extensive experience in EU social and employment policy. David O'Sullivan has a background in economics, graduating from Trinity College, Dublin and having completed post graduate studies at the College of Europe, Bruges. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the Dublin Institute of Technology. He is also a Member of the Consultative Board of the Institute for International Integration Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. He is a visiting Professor at the European College of Parma and was awarded Alumnus of the Year 2013 by the College of Europe, Bruges. In June 2014, David O'Sullivan was awarded the EU Transatlantic Business Award by the American Chamber of Commerce. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from his Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin in December, 2014. He is married with two children. M A T E R I A L F O R T H E R E C O R D ======================================================================= Resume of Anne C. Richard Anne C. Richard was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration on April 2, 2012. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Richard was the vice president of government relations and advocacy for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), an international aid agency that helps refugees, internally displaced and other victims of conflict. She was also a non-resident Fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University/SAIS and a board member of the Henry L. Stimson Center. From 1999 to 2001, Ms. Richard was Director of the Secretary's Office of Resources, Plans and Policy at the State Department. From 1997 to 1999, she was the deputy chief financial officer of the Peace Corps. Earlier, she served as a Senior Advisor in the Deputy Secretary's Office of Policy and Resources at the State Department and as a Budget Examiner at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. From 1993 to 1994, Ms. Richard was an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and was part of the team that created the International Crisis Group. From 1985 to 1986, she was a fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation in Germany. She first joined the U.S. government in 1984 as a Presidential Management Intern. Ms. Richard has authored several monographs and reports and numerous opinion pieces on topics including: international coordination of foreign assistance; combating terrorism; strategies to make foreign aid more cost effective; and specific humanitarian crises from Haiti to South Sudan to Afghanistan. Ms. Richard has a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago. She has lived overseas in Austria, Germany and France. She is married with two children. Excerpt from Congressional Research Service Memorandum, Dated October 15, 2015 SECURITY SCREENING USCIS coordinates the security screening process for refugees. According to the agency, ``the screening conducted on refugees is the most robust of any population processed by USCIS.'' \1\ Comprehensive, step-by-step information on the security screening process is not publicly available. USCIS has provided CRS with the following description of the process for refugees generally and Syrian refugees, in particular: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ E-mail from USCIS to CRS, July 15, 2015. A standard suite of required biographic and biometric security checks has been developed for all refugee applicants. Through close coordination with the federal law enforcement and intelligence communities, these checks are continually reviewed to identify potential enhancements and to develop approaches for specific populations that may pose particular threats. The biographic checks include vetting refugee data against the State Department's Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS). CLASS is a biographic name check database used to access critical information for visa adjudication and is run on all refugee applicants. CLASS contains information from TECS (formerly the Treasury Enforcement Communication System), the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Interpol, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In addition, refugee applicants meeting certain criteria are subject to Security Advisory Opinions (SAOs), including law enforcement and intelligence communities checks. SAO checks are run on applicants who meet these criteria and are between the ages of 16 to 50. Refugee applicants are subject to a third biographic check referred to as the Interagency Check (IAC); the IAC consists of screening biographic data against a broader range of intelligence community holdings. IACs are run on applicants who are age 14 and older. The biometric (fingerprint) checks (for applicants ages 14-79) include screening against the holdings of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Next Generation Identification (NGI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT), and the Department of Defense --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS). In addition to this standard suite of security checks, USCIS Headquarters staff are reviewing all Syrian refugee cases prior to DHS interview to identify potential national security concerns. For those cases with potential national security concerns, USCIS conducts open source and classified research on the facts presented in the refugee claim and synthesizes an evaluation for use by the interviewing officer. This information provides case-specific context relating to country conditions and regional activity and is used by the interviewing officer to develop lines of inquiry related to the applicant's eligibility and credibility. USCIS has also instituted Syria-specific training for officers adjudicating cases with Syrian applicants, which includes a classified briefing on country conditions. USCIS is continuing to engage with the law enforcement and intelligence communities, including exploring training opportunities and potential screening enhancements, to ensure that refugee vetting for Syrian refugee applicants is as robust as possible. \2\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \2\ Ibid. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Communication From the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council Managing the Refugee Crisis: State of Play of the Implementation of the Priority ActionsUnder the European Agenda on Migration I. INTRODUCTION In the first nine months of the year, over 710,000 people \1\-- refugees, displaced persons and other migrants--have made their way to Europe, a trend which is set to continue. This is a test for the European Union. The European Agenda on Migration presented by the Commission in May 2015 \2\ set out the need for a comprehensive approach to migration management. Since then, a number of important measures have been introduced--including the adoption of two emergency schemes to relocate 160,000 people in clear need of international protection from the Member States most affected to other EU Member States. The ongoing refugee crisis, however, requires further, immediate action. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ Frontex figures published on 13 October 2015. \2\ COM(2015) 240 final. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- For this reason, on 23 September, the European Commission detailed a set of priority actions to implement the European Agenda on Migration to be taken within the next six months. \3\ This included both short term actions to stabilise the current situation as well as longer term measures to establish a robust system that will bear the test of time. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \3\ COM(2015) 490 final. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The list of priority actions set out the key measures immediately required in terms of: (i) operational measures; (ii) budgetary support and (iii) implementation of EU law. The list was endorsed by the informal meeting of Heads of State and Government of 23 September 2015. \4\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \4\ Statement available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/ press/press-releases/2015/09/23-statement-informal-meeting. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Three weeks later, this Communication sets out the ongoing progress in implementing the priority actions (see Annex 1). The European Council this week provides an opportunity for Heads of State or Government to make a clear and unambiguous commitment to starting a new phase in the EU's response to the refugee crisis: one of swift and determined implementation. II. OPERATIONAL MEASURES Effectively managing the pressure of migratory flows on some parts of the shared external Schengen border requires both responsibility and solidarity on the part of all Member States. The rapid roll-out of the `hotspot' approach is providing support to the most affected Member States to ensure the proper reception, identification and processing of arrivals. In parallel, the measures proposed by the Commission and adopted by the Council to relocate 160,000 people in clear need of international protection. This will allow for a significant, if partial, reduction of the pressure on the most affected Member States. It is of crucial importance that these parallel measures will now be fully implemented, with the fingerprinting of all migrants, the prompt selection and relocation of asylum applicants and adequate reception capacities, accompanied by steps to prevent secondary movements and the immediate return to the country of relocation of relocated persons found in another Member State. The other essential component is action to secure swift return, voluntary or forced, of people not in need of international protection and who do not therefore qualify for relocation. The priority actions set out by the Commission focused heavily on the operational working of these measures. II.1 Implementing the `Hotspot' Approach Well-functioning and effective migration management at the external borders which are under most pressure is key to restoring confidence in the overall system, and in particular in the Schengen area of free movement without internal border controls. Central to the EU's strategy and credibility is to demonstrate that the migration system can be restored to proper functioning, in particular by using Migration Management Support Teams deployed in `hotspots' \5\ to help Member States under the most intense pressure to fulfil their obligations and responsibilities. For the Support Teams to work they need a strong core of EU Agencies, the closest of cooperation with the authorities in Italy and Greece, and the support of other Member States. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \5\ A `hotspot' is a section of the EU external border or a region with extraordinary migratory pressure which calls for reinforced and concerted support by EU Agencies. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Commission has sent special envoys to both Italy and Greece to provide practical coordination and support. In Greece, a dedicated team is working under the leadership of the Commission's Director-General of the Structural Reform Support Service, reporting directly to the President. This team has agreed a step-by-step approach to identify the `hotspots', deploy the Support Teams, start relocations, resume returns, and reinforce the border. The same model of direct, real-time support and coordination is in place in Italy. This intensive, full- time support from the Commission has made a real difference in helping the two Member States to move to the implementation phase of relocation (see Annex 2 and Annex 3). Both in Greece and in Italy, the Migration Management Support Teams are being set up and coordinated by European Regional Task Forces, following the increased deployment of the Agencies set out in the European Agenda on Migration. Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Europol, and Eurojust all participate. \6\ As a result, they can respond immediately to the needs identified in roadmaps presented by Italy and Greece. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \6\ The representatives of these Agencies work together in shared offices, based in ports or specific reception centres, to coordinate the EU assistance to the national authorities in identification, registration and return as well as information and intelligence gathering, sharing and analysis to support criminal investigations of people-smuggling networks. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- However, their work relies heavily on the support of Member States. Frontex and EASO have both launched calls for contributions to request human resources and technical equipment from Member States. In both cases, these calls constitute unprecedented numbers when compared to requests made by the Agencies in the past, reflecting the exceptional nature of the challenges currently faced by the most affected Member States: it is essential that other Member States respond positively, concretely and quickly to these calls. Frontex's latest call requested 775 additional border guards, screeners, de-briefers, and interpreters--all indispensable tasks for the effective management of the external borders of the European Union. The call was split into 670 officers--mainly for direct support to the `hotspot' approach in Italy and Greece, covering estimated needs to the end of January 2016--and 105 guest officers to be deployed at various external land borders of the European Union. EASO's latest call for over 370 experts is intended to cover the needs in Italy and Greece until the third quarter of 2017. These experts would support the asylum management authorities of the two Member States in the registration process, information tasks related to relocation and the detection of possible fraudulent documents. The need for personnel and equipment was explicitly recognised at the informal meeting of EU Heads of State or Government in September-- with a deadline of November to meet these needs. However, so far, the commitments made by Member States fall far short of the real needs. As of 8 October, only six Member States \7\ have responded to the call for contributions for EASO with 81 experts, out of the 374 needed. So far six Member States \8\ have responded to the call from Frontex with 48 border officials. Member States should rapidly submit their contributions to meet the Agencies' needs assessment. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \7\ Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. \8\ Belgium, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Sweden. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Italy has identified as `hotspot' areas Augusta, Lampedusa, Porte Empedocle, Pozzallo, Taranto and Trapani (see Annex 5). The first Migration Management Support Team is up and running, in Lampedusa. This builds on a European Regional Task Force set up in June 2015, in Catania, Sicily. \9\ The Support Team currently consists of two debriefing teams from Frontex, plus EASO experts both at the `hotspot' and at a nearby centre used for relocation. Frontex has already deployed 42 guest officers, while EASO has deployed 6 experts. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \9\ The Task Force involves Frontex, EASO, Europol, the EU naval operation EUNAVFORMED-SOPHIA and the Italian authorities. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- For the `hotspot' approach to be effective, an increase in reception capacities is essential, in order to host asylum seekers before they are relocated. There also needs to be adequate capacity to detain irregular migrants before a return decision is executed. Italy has expanded its reception capacities and now has first reception centres in the four identified `hotspot' areas, capable of housing approximately 1,500 people. Capacity will be expanded to provide for an additional 1,000 places by the end of the year, bringing the overall first reception capacity up to 2,500. Greece has identified five `hotspot' areas, in Lesvos, Chios, Leros, Samos and Kos (see Annex 4). The European Regional Task Force is fully operational, based in Piraeus. The first Migration Management Support Team will be based around the `hotspot' in Lesvos. Frontex has already deployed 53 experts: at present one EASO staff member is permanently stationed in Greece to help organise the deployment of EASO experts. Greece has expanded its reception capacities and now has seven first reception centres, screening centres and temporary facilities in four of the identified hotspot areas (Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Leros), capable of housing approximately 2,000 people. Capacity is being expanded further. \10\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \10\ For example, a temporary facility for 300-400 places in Kos by the end of the year. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Part of the reception needs in `hotspot' areas is linked to the identification and registration of irregular migrants who are not in clear need of international protection, and thus do not qualify for relocation. This requires sufficient capacity to be available with the facilities to prevent irregular migrants absconding. II.2 Rolling out the Relocation scheme On 14 September, the Council adopted the Commission's proposal for a Decision \11\ to relocate 40,000 people in clear need of international protection from Italy and Greece. This was followed a week later by the Decision,A\12\ again based on a Commission proposal, to relocate 120,000 people in clear need of international protection from Italy, Greece and other Member States directly affected by the refugee crisis. The Migration Management Support Teams are the tools to ensure that this relocation can happen at the Union's external borders. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \11\ 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, p. 146). \12\ Council Decision (EU) 2015/1601 of 22 September 2015 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece (OJ L 248, 24.9.2015, p. 80). --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Both Decisions require immediate follow up from the EU institutions, the Member States under pressure and the Member States who are committed to hosting relocated people. On 1 October, the European Commission brought together over 80 delegates from the Member States, the EU Agencies, the International Organisation for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a Relocation and Resettlement Forum to take forward practical implementation. Italy and Greece presented their roadmaps for relocation at the Forum--outlining measures in the area of asylum, first reception and return, as well as the steps they would take in the weeks to come to ensure a full roll-out of the relocation scheme. The first relocations of people in clear need of protection have taken place, but much work is still needed to ensure that a substantial flow of several hundreds of relocations per month quickly follows. All Member States were asked to identify national contact points at home: so far, 21 Member States have identified national contact points. \13\ They have also been asked to send liaison officers, if relevant, to Italy and Greece. So far, 22 Member States have dispatched such officers. \14\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \13\ Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden. \14\ From Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden for Italy and Slovenia for both Italy and Greece. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- An essential part of the relocation chain is that adequate reception capacity exists in the receiving Member States to accommodate the relocated persons. So far, only six Member States have notified this reception capacity they have made available to host relocated people. \15\ All Member States should complete this notification by the end of October. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \15\ Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden and Spain. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- _______________________________________________________________________ first effective relocation of people in clear need of international protection On 9 October 2015, a first flight left from Rome taking 19 Eritreans to start a new life in Sweden. Five women and 14 men left from Ciampino airport in the presence of Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, Luxembourg Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Asselborn and Italian Minister of the Interior Angelino Alfano. It was an important symbolic moment which marked the start of a new, European approach to the way we treat asylum applications. However, beyond symbolism, relocations now need to become systematic, routine business in Italy and in Greece. The first flight was the result of intensive preparatory work on the ground by the Italian and Swedish authorities, by Frontex and other EU agencies, by local NGOs, and by the special envoys which the European Commission has deployed. Tireless efforts have ensured that the system is operational, and the necessary registration and processing can be done at each step of the way. Outreach to the Eritrean community was crucial in ensuring the success of the first exercise. Initially asylum seekers were reluctant to be registered because they did not trust the system. It has taken a lot of effort over the past weeks from the Commission envoys on the ground, working with the UNHCR and local NGOs, to convince the first set of people that they really would be relocated. Trust in the system is increasing, however, particularly since the first exercise was carried out. There are now queues of people wanting to register in Lampedusa and Villa Sikania. There are over 100 Eritreans already identified as candidates for relocation. It is now crucial that further relocation exercises follow suit, particularly to avoid a `bottleneck' of relocation candidates accumulating. _______________________________________________________________________ The successful transfer of the first groups of persons under the relocation exercises is an important first step. These exercises now need to be put on a firm and ongoing footing, at a sufficient scale. All Member States should now provide the Commission with their clear commitments as to the number of people they will relocate from now until the end of the year, bearing in mind the urgency of the challenge. II.3 Resettlement Resettlement of people in need of international protection directly from third countries both responds to the EU's humanitarian obligations, and provides a safe alternative for refugees as compared to taking the perilous journey to Europe themselves. At the Relocation and Resettlement Forum on 1 October, Member States confirmed the commitments made in July to welcome over 20,000 refugees in the next two years in this way. A Resettlement Workshop on 2 October developed practical solutions to ensure the effective application of resettlement. The first resettlements have now taken place. \16\ Member States should now provide the Commission with information on the number of people they will resettle over the next six months, and from where. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \16\ 132 Syrians staying in neighbouring countries have already been resettled under the scheme agreed on 20 July 2015 to the Czech Republic (16), Italy (96), and Liechtenstein (20). --------------------------------------------------------------------------- II.4 Return and Readmission A key element in the interlocking mechanisms which make up the EU asylum system is ensuring that those who do not have a right to international protection are effectively returned. At present, far too few return decisions are being implemented in practice and smuggling networks exploit this to attract migrants who are not in need of international protection. The more effective the return system becomes, the less chance that smugglers can persuade people that they will be able to `slip through the net' if identified as not in need of international protection. At the October 2015 Justice and Home Affairs Council, Member States endorsed the EU action plan on return proposed by the Commission. \17\ The focus is now on swift and effective follow-up. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \17\ COM(2015) 453 final. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Italy has recently carried out two return operations--28 Tunisians were returned from Italy to Tunisia and 35 Egyptians were returned to Egypt. One joint return operation, coordinated by Frontex, is foreseen in October from Italy and two from Greece. The frequency of these operations needs to be increased. Ensuring effective returns is a core part of the work of the Migration Management Support Teams in `hotspot' locations. This also requires efficient systems to be in place inside the EU for issuing and enforcing return decisions. Concrete steps have been taken over the past month to develop a system of integrated return management and to make use of the EU's information exchange systems to include return decisions and entry bans. Member States' return agencies must also be given the necessary resources to perform their role. Returns can only be implemented if there is an agreement by the countries of origin to readmit the persons concerned. Readmission is an indispensable component of an effective migration policy. Those who return must be readmitted to their countries of origin. This requires a close partnership with third countries, using all available tools at our disposal. Member States and the Commission should work together to find the fine balance of pressure and incentives in their relation with third countries to increase the number of returns. To assist in the process, it has been agreed that Member States deploy European Migration Liaison Officers in eleven countries by the end of 2015, but this deployment has not yet taken place. \18\ The High Representative/ Vice-President has launched the first high-level dialogues with main countries of origin of irregular migration, and this will be followed up in a variety of broader dialogues with Ethiopia, Somalia, the African Union and the Sahel countries. The immediate priority is to ensure that existing readmission agreements are effectively applied in practice. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \18\ Council conclusions 8 October 2015: ``Cooperation with the countries of origin and transit is key to successful return operations. In the short term, the EU will explore the synergies of the EU diplomacy on the ground, through the EU delegations, and in particular through the European Migration Liaison Officers (EMLOs), to be deployed by the end of 2015 to Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Pakistan, Serbia, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Sudan, Turkey and Jordan.'' _______________________________________________________________________ making readmission work: practical cooperation with pakistan The EU has a readmission agreement in place with Pakistan since 2012. Given the large numbers involved (see Annex 9)--for many years, Pakistan has been the fourth largest source of non-EU nationals found to be in the EU in an irregular way--this agreement is of particular importance. But the estimate is that only around 54% of Pakistani citizens receiving return decisions in the EU are returned. The effectiveness of the implementation of the Agreement varies significantly amongst Member States. A particular blockage was identified in Greece, resulting from disputes concerning documentation. Dedicated readmission discussions between the Commission, Greece and the Pakistani authorities this month aim to restart the returns process: Discussions on the application of the EU-Pakistan readmission agreement took place in Athens between Commission, Greek and Contacts between the EU Delegation in Islamabad and the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs took place on the same day; Commissioner Avramopoulos will travel to Islamabad on 29 October to discuss a joint plan on migration. The result should be: A joint understanding on the application of the EU readmission agreement between Greece and Pakistan; Frontex will carry out a joint return operation for Pakistanis from Greece in November; The Commission will present an operational action plan for better migration management with Pakistan. _______________________________________________________________________ II.5 Other Ways to Support Member States There are several other opportunities for Member States to call on the support of the EU to provide assistance in border and migration management but which still have not been fully exploited. Member States can request the deployment of Rapid border intervention teams (RABIT) to provide immediate border guard support in cases of urgent or exceptional migratory pressure. The Commission considers that the circumstances faced by Greece over the last few months have been exactly the circumstances for which the Teams were devised. Neither Greece nor Italy has so far triggered the mechanism. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism \19\ can be activated by a country if it considers itself to be overwhelmed by a crisis. The Mechanism relies on voluntary contributions from Member States (including expertise, equipment, shelter, and medical supplies). Member States were asked last month to notify the Commission of the assets which can be held ready to deploy to help refugees. Only eight Member States \20\ have notified that they have--limited--civil protection assets or experts they would be prepared to deploy still this year, should a request be made. The Commission reiterates the need for Member States to support the mechanism with substantial contributions. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \19\ The Mechanism can mobilise various types of in-kind assistance, including expertise, equipment, shelter, and medical supplies. \20\ Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Sweden, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Mechanism has been activated twice in 2015 to assist Hungary,\21\ and once to assist Serbia,\22\ in responding to the urgent needs caused by an unprecedented inflow of refugees and migrants. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \21\ These requests are now closed. \22\ This request is still open. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- It should also be recalled that the support of Member States through the Frontex Joint Operations TRITON and POSEIDON continues to provide day-by-day support to the management of the external borders, rescuing thousands of migrants and refugees in the process. Currently 17 Member States are providing assets to TRITON, 18 Member States to POSEIDON. \23\ However, the assets made available still fall short of what is needed. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \23\ Malta, Portugal, the Netherlands, France, Norway, Spain, Greece, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Latvia in the case of TRITON, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, Germany, Croatia, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Romania in the case of POSEIDON. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Progress Made First `hotspot' working in Lampedusa (Italy). First `hotspot' in Lesvos (Greece) to be operational in the coming days. Relocations to other Member States have started. Migration Management Support Teams are operational. The first resettlements have taken place. Frontex supporting return missions. Next Steps Six `hotspots' in total to be operational in Italy by the end of the year. Five `hotspots' in total to be operational in Greece by the end of the year. Member States to meet calls for experts and equipment to support the Migration Management Support Teams to allow the Support Teams to be rolled out in full. Member States to notify how many relocation and resettlement places they will provide, and specify their reception capacity. Returns to Pakistan from Greece to restart. Member States to provide adequate resources for Frontex Joint Operations TRITON and POSEIDON. III. BUDGETARY SUPPORT Three weeks ago, the Commission committed to reinforcing financial support immediately. Since then, the Commission has proposed amending budgets to increase financial resources devoted to tackling the refugee crisis by an additional ] 1.7 billion for 2015 and 2016. This includes: Additional emergency assistance already in 2015 under the Asylum, Migration and Immigration Fund and the Internal Security Fund- Borders (=100 million) (see Annex 8); Reinforcement of the three key Agencies by 120 posts (60 posts for FRONTEX, 30 for EASO and 30 for EUROPOL); Additional funding for the European Neighbourhood Instrument (=300 million) and redeployment of other EU funds so that the EU Trust Fund for Syria can reach at least =500 million this year; An increase of the funding for Humanitarian Aid of =500 million (=200 million in 2015 and =300 million in 2016) to help refugees directly, notably through UNHCR, the World Food Programme and other relevant organisations to help refugees' essential needs, like food and shelter; =600 million in additional commitments for 2016 to increase emergency funding on migration issues (=94 million), to support the relocation package (=110 million), increased human and financial resources for FRONTEX, EASO and EUROPOL (about =86 million to assist on returns and in the `hotspot' areas, as well as reinforcement of the Agencies), and additional funding to help Member States most affected by the refugee crisis (=310 million). In total this means that the available funding to address the refugee crisis will amount to ]9.2 billion in 2015 and 2016. The European Parliament and the Council have acted swiftly to adopt the changes to the 2015 budget. The Commission has now adopted amendments for the 2016 budget and calls upon the budgetary authority to make a similar commitment to fast-track the 2016 budget. It is crucial that national spending is now deployed to reinforce the overall European effort in addition to this substantial reinforcement of migration-related spending under the EU budget. This was recognised by the EU Heads of State and Government on 23 September, which highlighted the need for national governments to contribute and match the EU funding in the efforts made to: Support the urgent needs of refugees through UNHCR, the World Food Programme \24\ and other agencies, to reach at least =1 billion. With the EU budget providing =200 million in additional support this year and =300m next year, this requires a commitment of =500 million from national budgets. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \24\ Four Member States--the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden--rank in the top 10 donors to the World Food Programme in 2015 (source: World Food Programme, 6 October 2015). --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Since 23 September, ten Member States \25\ have committed to additional contribution, with the total reaching around =275 million. But in reality, over 80% of this has been pledged by only two Member States, the United Kingdom and Germany. This still leaves a shortfall of over ]225 million. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \25\ Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Support a substantial increase in the EU's Regional Trust Fund responding to the Syria crisis. The Commission calls on Member States to match the =500 million from the EU budget. However, despite the fact that Syria is at the core of today's crisis and that this Trust Fund offers a flexible and swift delivery tool, the response so far from Member States has been minimal, with just two Member States, Italy pledging =3 million and Germany pledging =5 million. This leaves an almost total shortfall of ]492 million. Support with national contributions the Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. The Commission considers that national contributions should match the =1.8 billion EU funding. Again, support committed so far has been negligible, with only three Member States at present, Luxembourg, Germany and Spain, pledging =3 million each. Six Member States \26\ have informally confirmed their contributions but without clear figures. Four others \27\ have said that it is ``very likely'' that they will contribute and four \28\ are still considering it. Two non-EU countries \29\ have informally suggested they might pledge in total around =9 million. This leaves a huge shortfall of ]1.791 million. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \26\ Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Malta and the United Kingdom. \27\ Austria, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden. \28\ The Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia and Greece. \29\ Norway and Switzerland. Financial resources are an indispensable part of how we can both address the immediate plight of refugees and start to tackle the root causes. It is imperative that the shortfall between the needs identified by the European Council and the reality of what just a few Member States have so far pledged is swiftly redressed (see Annex 7). Progress Made Adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of the reinforcement of =800 million to support refugees and migration policies in 2015, as proposed by the Commission. Further reinforcement of =900 million for 2016 now before the budgetary authority. Next Steps European Parliament and Council should adopt the changes to the 2016 budget, as proposed by the Commission. Member States need to complete the pledge of =500 million in support for humanitarian aid to refugees to reach =1 billion. Member States to match the =500 million funding from the EU budget to the EU Syria Trust Fund and the =1.8 billion in EU funding for the EU Trust Fund for Africa. In this context, questions have arisen about the treatment under the Stability and Growth Pact of expenditure incurred to manage the refugee crisis. The Commission has confirmed that, if it received a specific request from a Member State, it would examine whether and how this could be accommodated under the existing rules of the Stability and Growth Pact. This includes the flexibility that has been imbedded in the Pact to react to unforeseen circumstances and unusual events. This assessment would need to be made on a case-by-case basis as part of the analysis of national fiscal documents. It would need to be based on evidence of the net costs incurred, in line with the agreed methodology for applying the Pact. IV. IMPLEMENTATION OF EU LAW The Common European Asylum System is based on helping people in need of international protection and returning migrants who have no right to stay on EU territory. To make this a reality, the EU now has a strong set of common rules on asylum and irregular migration. But these rules have to be properly applied. One example of the Commission's efforts to promote effective implementation is in the area of return, where the Commission has been helping Member States to understand the consequences of the rules. The Commission has held dedicated dialogues with Member States to highlight steps that need to be taken to meet the obligation to enforce return. Member States should ensure the physical availability of an irregular migrant for return and use detention, as a legitimate measure of last resort, where it is necessary to avoid that irregular migrants abscond. As long as there is a reasonable likelihood of removal, prospects for such removal should not be undermined by a premature ending of detention. Finally, both the swiftness of decision-making, and the availability of staff and sufficient detention capacity, can have a key impact on the practical implementation of return decisions. Since August, the Commission has sent administrative letters to five Member States concerning the Eurodac Regulation on fingerprinting, and ten concerning the correct implementation of the Return Directive. All Member States concerned replied on the Eurodac Regulation , and the Commission is now assessing the replies to see if they are sufficient or if infringement proceedings should be launched. On the Return Directive, only one response \30\ has been received so far: the Commission awaits the remaining responses and will swiftly assess the situation. A further administrative letter has been addressed to one Member State concerning the compliance with the Asylum Procedures Directive, the Reception Conditions Directive and the Schengen Borders Code. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \30\ Italy --------------------------------------------------------------------------- In respect of the decision on 40 potential or actual infringement decisions adopted in September, concerning the Asylum Procedures Directive, the Reception Conditions Directive and the Qualifications Directive, in addition to the 34 cases opened before then, the Commission has not received any responses so far. Given the particular importance of this legislation, Member States are urged to respond as early as possible within the two month period. The Commission will continue to pursue infringement procedures swiftly and effectively, where necessary, to ensure full compliance with EU legislation in this area (see Annex 6). The priority actions identified in September stressed the need to devote particular attention to Greece. Member States have not been able to return asylum seekers to Greece since 2010-11. In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that there had been a number of violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Court of Justice then confirmed that there could be no presumption that Member States respect the fundamental rights of asylum seekers if they return people to Greece under the Dublin system. As noted above, the Commission has dedicated substantial resources to assisting Greece. Member States are now starting to add to these efforts. Significant progress has been made in a short space of time. With the Migration Management Support Teams up and running, the key deficiencies behind the effective suspension of Dublin transfers are being addressed--with reception facilities being expanded and a return being made to a robust system of asylum processing. Progress so far has been encouraging and must continue. On this basis, the Commission will assess the situation by 30 November 2015 and if all conditions are met, it will recommend to the European Council in December 2015 or in March 2016 to confirm the reinstatement of Dublin transfers to Greece. Several Member States have recently invoked the temporary reintroduction of border controls under the Schengen Border Code. This can be justified in exceptional crisis situations and notably for serious threats to public policy or internal security in a given Member State. But it can never be more than a short-term measure before the situation is stabilised. The Commission is currently finalising its assessment of the situation by adopting an opinion on the prolongation of temporary border controls by Germany, Austria and Slovenia on the basis of the Schengen Border Code. Progress made The Commission is addressing deficiencies by Member States in the full transposition and implementation of EU law. Reception facilities are being expanded and conditions for a correct asylum system and processing are being put in place in Greece. Next steps The Commission will ensure active and swift follow-up of all infringement proceedings in asylum and return. The Commission will assess by 30 November 2015 the situation concerning Dublin transfers to Greece. V. THE EXTERNAL DIMENSION The European Agenda on Migration underlined that a successful migration policy must inescapably work outside as well as inside the Union. Europe must always welcome those in need of protection. But it is in everyone's interests that the crises which force refugees to leave their homes and travel in great danger are tackled at their roots. At the core of the priority actions and the joint Communication of the Commission and the High Representative/Vice-President last month \31\ was putting migration at the top of the EU's external concerns. This has been shown through the commitments to extra funding set out above. But the diplomatic offensive now under way has also put migration at the centre of bilateral, regional and multilateral dialogue. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \31\ JOIN(2015) 40 of 9 September 2015 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Turkey is a pivotal partner. Together with Lebanon and Jordan, it has borne the brunt of the humanitarian effort to shelter Syrian refugees. Its geographical position makes it the dominant channel for migrants arriving in the Western Balkans. Turkey has shown that it is capable of taking decisive action to combat smuggling. The detailed Action Plan on Migration handed by President Juncker to President Erdogan on 5 October set out a series of concrete measures covering both support of refugees, migrants, and their hosting communities, as well as strengthening cooperation to prevent irregular migration. It sets out short, medium, and longer term actions. The Commission is now in active discussions with the Turkish authorities in order to finalise the Action Plan. Cooperation with Turkey was also a key aspect of the High-level Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean--Western Balkans Route convened on 8 October by the High Representative/Vice-President and the Luxembourg Presidency. This meeting agreed a series of practical steps to foster a more effective cooperation with partner countries along the route, including by supporting countries of first asylum and of transit, as well as underlining the broader issues of tackling root causes and fighting smuggling. \32\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \32\ This document can be found by following the link : http:// www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2015/10/08-western- balkans-route-conference-declaration/ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The High Representative/Vice-President has been engaged in extensive diplomatic contacts with a view to finding an agreement to the crisis in Libya. These efforts, political and financial, have been deployed in support of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Bernardino Leon, who, on 8 October, presented a final text of the Libyan Political Agreement to all participants in the political dialogue. The focus is now on having this agreement endorsed by the parties, in which case, the EU stands ready with a substantial and immediate package of support to a new government of National Accord that will benefit the Libyan population. The Foreign Affairs Council of 12 October adopted conclusions in this respect. On 7 October, the EU military operation in the Southern Mediterranean--EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia--moved to its second phase in international waters, after having successfully fulfilled the objectives of phase 1 (surveillance and assessment of smuggling and trafficking networks), and contributing to the rescue of more than 3,000 people. It will now be able to conduct boarding, search, seizure and diversion, on the high seas, of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking, and will contribute to bringing suspected smugglers to justice. This represents a key development in disrupting the business model of traffickers/smugglers and received an important political endorsement from UN Security Council Resolution 2240 adopted on 9 October. Under the chairmanship of the High Representative/Vice-President, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted conclusions on the Syria crisis on 12 October, on the basis of which the EU will enhance the level of its engagement in support of UN-led international efforts to find a political solution to the conflict. The High Representative/Vice- President is actively engaged with all of the key regional and international actors, including Russia, US, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Iraq. The EEAS has taken measures to strengthen support to the political opposition inside and outside Syria as a party to a transition process and to continue to facilitate the rapprochement and unification of its numerous political and military segments behind a common strategy. On 7 and 9 September, the EEAS together with the UN Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, conducted detailed consultations with mediation practitioners, notably from Russia, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Syria envoys from the Member States. The EU is also active in some of the working groups established by the Small Group of the Global Coalition against Da'esh, namely on stabilization, foreign terrorist fighters, counter-financing. Implementation of the EU regional strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the Da'esh threat is on-going. Migration was a key theme discussed by representatives of the EU institutions and of the Member States in the 70th United Nations General Assembly at the end of September. In this context, the need for a more proactive response and enhanced engagement by the international community to deal with the challenges of migration and human mobility was stressed, notably with regard to the Syrian refugee crisis. The EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling presented in May \33\ is now being implemented--as well as law enforcement operations both within and outside the EU--for example, campaigns are under way in Ethiopia and Niger to prevent smuggling at the source. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \33\ COM(2015) 285 final --------------------------------------------------------------------------- A major focus in the new priority on migration issues in the next month will be the Valletta Summit on Migration (11-12 November). This Summit is the subject of intensive preparation with African partners. It will represent an opportunity to show that both the EU and its African partners can deliver tangible action to address the root causes of irregular migration and to ensure orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people. Fundamental to such partnerships is that the EU must support its partners--with financial assistance, with expertise, with the confidence to work together and demonstrate a common effort. As such, its success is inextricably linked to a joint effort to deliver a major financial commitment to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (see above under point III). Progress Made A series of high-level meetings by the High Representative/Vice-President and Commissioners have given meaning to the new diplomatic offensive on migration. EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia fulfilled objectives of phase 1. Next Steps Finalising the Action Plan with Turkey. High level dialogues foreseen by the High Representative/ Vice-President with Ethiopia, the African Union and Somalia on 20-21 October. EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia implementing its phase 2. EU to support a new government of National Accord in Libya. EU to enhance level of engagement in support of UN-led international efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria. Valletta Summit on Migration. VI. CONCLUSION The operational and budgetary steps set out above are designed to provide the support needed to bring the EU's migration system back into an orderly approach where the rules are properly applied and the system is robust enough to react to the inevitable peaks in migration. An indispensable part of restoring stability is the external border. This is at the heart of the Commission's commitment to bring forward before the end of the year proposals to develop a fully operational European Border and Coast Guard, as a recognition that Member States must be supported more strongly in the challenge of managing Europe's external borders. _______________________________________________________________________ summary of specific conclusions Member States should rapidly submit their contributions to meet the EU Agencies' needs assessment for the implementation of the ``Hotspot'' approach; Italy and Greece should increase their reception capacities; Member States should notify their reception capacity to host relocated people; Member States should provide clear commitments as to the number of people they will relocate from now until the end of the year; Member States should now provide the Commission with information on the number of people they will resettle over the next six months and from where; Member States should swiftly implement the EU action plan on return proposed by the Commission, for an effective system of return at EU level; European Migration Liaison Officers should be deployed by the EU in eleven third countries by the end of 2015, Member States should support the EU Civil Protection Mechanism with substantial contributions; Member States should make available sufficient assets for Frontex joint operations TRITON and POSEIDON; Member States should contribute to and match the EU funding in the efforts made to support the UNHCR, World Food Programme and other international organisations, the EU Trust Fund for Syria and the EU Trust Fund for Africa; The European Parliament and the Council should adopt the draft amending budget for 2016, as proposed by the Commission; The Commission will continue to pursue swiftly and effectively infringement procedures, where necessary, to ensure full compliance with the acquis in the area of Asylum and Return; The Commission will assess by 30 November 2015 if all conditions are met to recommend to the European Council in December 2015 or in March 2016 to confirm the reinstatement of Dublin transfers to Greece; The Commission will finalise its opinion on the prolongation of temporary controls by Germany, Austria and Slovenia on the basis of the Schengen Border Code; The Commission will finalise the Action Plan with Turkey. _______________________________________________________________________ List of Annexes Annex 1: Follow-up of the Priority Actions Annex 2: Greece--State of Play Report from11 October 2015 Annex 3: Italy--State of Play Report from 11 October 2015 Annex 4: Map of the `Hotspots' designated in Greece Annex 5: Map of the `Hotspots' designated in Italy Annex 6: Implementing the Common European Asylum System Annex 7: Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015 Annex 8: Financial Support to Member States under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund Annex 9: The functioning of the EU-Pakistan Readmission Agreement 2012- 2014 FROM: General Secretariat of the European Council TO: Delegations SUBJECT: European Council Meeting, 15 October 2015--Conclusions MIGRATION 1. Tackling the migration and refugee crisis is a common obligation which requires a comprehensive strategy and a determined effort over time in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility. The orientations agreed by Heads of State or Government on 23 September focused on the most pressing issues. Their implementation is advancing rapidly, as evidenced by work undertaken within the Council and by the Commission report of 14 October. This will be kept under close review, including as concerns the financial pledges and possible further needs. 2. Today, the European Council set out the following further orientations: Cooperating with third countries to stem the flows a) welcomes the joint Action Plan with Turkey as part of a comprehensive cooperation agenda based on shared responsibility, mutual commitments and delivery. Successful implementation will contribute to accelerating the fulfilment of the visa liberalisation roadmap towards all participating Member States and the full implementation of the readmission agreement. Progress will be assessed in spring 2016. The EU and its Member States stand ready to increase cooperation with Turkey and step up their political and financial engagement substantially within the established framework. The accession process needs to be re- energized with a view to achieving progress in the negotiations in accordance with the negotiating framework and the relevant Council conclusions. The European Council expressed its condolences to the people of Turkey following the Ankara bomb attack and pledged its support to fight terrorism; b) ensure effective and operational follow up to the High-level Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean/Western Balkans Route, with particular emphasis on the management of migratory flows and the fight against criminal networks; c) achieve concrete operational measures at the forthcoming Valletta Summit with African Heads of State or Government, focusing, in a fair and balanced manner, on effective return and readmission, dismantling of criminal networks and prevention of illegal migration, accompanied by real efforts to tackle root causes and to support the African socio- economic development together with a commitment concerning continued possibilities for legal migration; d) explore possibilities for developing safe and sustainable reception capacities in the affected regions and providing lasting prospects and adequate procedures for refugees and their families, including through access to education and jobs, until return to their country of origin is possible; e) ask Member States to further contribute to the efforts made to support UNHCR, World Food Programme and other agencies, as well as to support the EU's Regional Trust Fund responding to the Syria crisis and the EU Trust Fund for Africa. Strengthening the protection of the EU's external borders (building on the Schengen acquis) f) work towards the gradual establishment of an integrated management system for external borders; g) make full use of the existing Frontex mandate, including as regards the deployment of Rapid Border Intervention Teams; h) in accordance with the distribution of competences under the Treaty, in full respect of the national competence of the Member States, enhance the mandate of Frontex in the context of discussions over the development of a European Border and Coast Guard System, including as regards the deployment of Rapid Border Intervention Teams in cases where Schengen evaluations or risk analysis demonstrate the need for robust and prompt action, in cooperation with the Member State concerned; i) devise technical solutions to reinforce the control of the EU's external borders to meet both migration and security objectives, without hampering the fluidity of movement; j) welcome the Commission's intention to rapidly present a package of measures with a view to improving the management of our external borders. Responding to the influx of refugees in Europe and ensuring returns k) in accordance with the decisions taken so far, press ahead with the establishment of further hotspots within the agreed timeframe to ensure the identification, registration, fingerprinting and reception of applicants for international protection and other migrants and at the same time ensure relocation and returns. Member States will support these efforts to the full, in the first place by meeting the calls for expertise from Frontex and EASO for the Migration Management Support Teams to work in hotspot areas and by the provision of necessary resources; l) further to the first successful relocations, proceed rapidly with the full implementation of the decisions taken so far on relocation as well as our commitments on resettlement and on the functioning of hotspots; m) at the same time step up implementation by the Member States of the Return Directive and, before the end of the year, create a dedicated return office within Frontex in order to scale up support to Member States; n) enlarge the Frontex mandate on return to include the right to organise joint return operations on its own initiative, and enhance its role regarding the acquisition of travel documents for returnees; o) promote the acceptance by third countries of an improved European return laissez-passer as the reference document for return purposes; p) effectively implement all readmission commitments, whether undertaken through formal readmission agreements, the Cotonou Agreement or other arrangements; q) further increase leverage in the fields of return and readmission, using where appropriate the ``more-for-more'' principle. In this regard, the Commission and the High Representative will propose, within six months, comprehensive and tailor-made incentives to be used vis-a- vis third countries. 3. The orientations set out above represent a further important step towards our comprehensive strategy, consistent with the right to seek asylum, fundamental rights and international obligations. There are however other important priority actions that require further discussions in the relevant fora, including the Commission proposals. And there is a need for continuing reflection on the overall migration and asylum policy of the EU. The European Council will keep developments under review. Syria and Libya 4. The European Council discussed political and military developments in Syria, including their impact on migration. The Assad regime bears the greatest responsibility for the 250.000 deaths of the conflict and the millions of displaced people. The European Council agreed on the need to focus on the fight against DAESH and other UN-designated terrorist groups in the framework of a united and coordinated strategy and a political process on the basis of the Geneva Communique of 2012. The EU is fully engaged in finding a political solution to the conflict in close cooperation with the UN and the countries of the region and calls on all parties involved to work to that effect. There cannot be a lasting peace in Syria under the present leadership and until the legitimate grievances and aspirations of all components of Syrian society are addressed. The European Council expressed its concern about the Russian attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians and the risk of further military escalation. 5. As regards Libya, the European Council welcomed the announcement made by the UN and called on all parties to swiftly endorse it. The EU reiterates its offer of substantial political and financial support to the Government of National Accord as soon as it takes office. OTHER ITEMS 6. The European Council took stock of the discussions on the Presidents' report on completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union. The European Council reiterates that the process of completing the Economic and Monetary Union must be taken forward in full respect of the single market and in an open and transparent manner. The European Council will revert to these issues at its December meeting. 7. The European Council was informed about the process ahead concerning the UK plans for an (in/out) referendum. The European Council will revert to the matter in December. 8. The European Council welcomes the international and independent report, conducted by the Dutch Safety Board, published on 13 October into the downing of flight MH17 and supports the ongoing efforts to hold to account those responsible for the downing of MH17, in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2166. Submitted for the Record by Metodija A. Koloski, Co-Founder and President, United Macedonian Diaspora, and Gavin Kopel, UMD International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow Challenges facing Macedonia in regards to Refugee Crisis Macedonia has made great strides in the face of one of the most challenging crises of the 21st century, but no country can manage this crisis unilaterally. Lack of infrastructure led to isolated clashes between border police and refugees desperate to move through Macedonia on their way into Europe. In July, Macedonia passed legislation to allow the migrants 72 hours to pass through the country, allowing them to enter and exit the country legally. Special transportation has been arranged to move the refugees, a large number of police have been hired to register refugees and increase security, and the government is working in tandem with local and international NGOs to provide assistance to the refugees. Macedonia has done all this without closing its borders as other states have and is once again a regional leader in keeping up with the democratic and humanitarian values it shares with its western allies. However, growing costs are putting increased strain on an already heavily burdened economy. A prompt, unified response from the international community, led by the United States and the European Union, is needed to address not only the problems that led to this crisis but also the problems that have stemmed from it. Macedonia, a country with a population of approximately two million people, is currently contending with an unprecedented number of migrants moving through its territory. From January to June, 124,000 migrants passed through Greece, a 750% increase over the previous year. In the short time from June 1st the rate at which migrants are entering Europe increased even more rapidly. Since June, over 140,000 migrants have passed through Greece. In this fourmonth period, more refugees have entered Macedonia through Greece than in all of last year. This number is only a fraction of the total number that has entered Europe this year. Only a tiny fraction of the refugees who enter Macedonia seek asylum there; only 550 have done so since the crisis began. A majority of the migrants who enter Europe through Greece proceed further into Europe through Macedonia's southern border near Gevgelija, a town with less than 16,000 inhabitants and vastly insufficient infrastructure to deal with such a high number of migrants. Recently, the southern border has seen up to 10,000 migrants crossing into the country per day. Although Macedonia is a transit country for the refugees on their way deeper into Europe, the cost associated with the crisis is continually growing. At a recent American Bar Association- Rule of Law Initiative panel discussion on refugee crisis, Macedonian Ambassador to the United States Dr. Vasko Naumovski stated that the increased police force needed to maintain the security of the southern border is costing Macedonia over $100,000 per day. Macedonia is helping to assure the security of the European Union as the refugees pass through by registering and fingerprinting the refugees, reducing the risk of Islamic extremists slipping into Europe with the flow of refugees. As the number of people entering the country each day increases, the cost of this task increases substantially. Serbia's Ambassador Djerdj Matkovic, on the same panel, stated that the cost of simply feeding and providing water to the refugees is close to =20,000 per day, and with almost equal numbers of refugees moving through Macedonia, the costs are similar. With winter approaching, refugees will need heated shelters and additional services to keep them safe from the elements, which will drive up the cost of the crisis in the region even higher. Without increased foreign aid to address the growing burden on already taxed economies, the Balkans will not be able to maintain the services that are being provided for the refugees as they enter the countries. The amount of funds that Macedonia receives from the EU to deal with this incredibly complicated issue is inadequate. Macedonia receives less than a quarter of the funding from the EU that Serbia does for migrant management, even though each country experiences a similar number of migrants. This figure is not an indictment of Serbia, but of the disjointed response from the international community. In addition to the =8.2 million package that Serbia is receiving through 2020 to expand its capacity for migrants, reform its asylum system and improve border security, it was recently granted =630,000 to address issues related to the influx of migrants and improve infrastructure including waste disposal, water and sanitation. In comparison to Serbia, the only funding Macedonia received from the EU was a mere =90,656. In stark contrast is the funding that Greece receives to address issues related to migration crisis. Despite the fact that most refugees cross Greece to enter Macedonia, Greece receives over 5,000 times more funding than Macedonia. In the period from 2014 to 2020, Greece will receive =474,192,915 to address issues related to this crisis. Norway, a non-EU member state, has given nearly as much aid unilaterally to the Balkans, namely Serbia and Macedonia, as the entirety of the EU with its aid package of NOK 60 million, nearly $7.5 million. Resolution of the current crisis is viable only if responsibility is shared. No single country can rely solely on its own resources to solve a problem as complex as this. Macedonia has been a long-time friend and loyal ally to the United States since its own independence, and now the United States should be a leader in supporting Macedonia and its neighbors affected by the crisis and lead a common response with Europe with increased aid and technical assistance. If the EU wants to retain its position as a powerful global player that is genuinely committed to the promotion of peace, democracy and human rights, it must provide a unified and resolute response to the current migrant crisis. This includes providing adequate support to Macedonia and other non-EU states, which is crucial in ensuring that governments meet their obligations under international law to treat all migrants with dignity. Lastly, the United States must use its diplomatic resources-at-hand to bring upon a solution to Macedonia's NATO membership, so that the country can officially become a member at the 2016 Warsaw Summit. [all] This is an official publication of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. < < < This publication is intended to document developments and trends in participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). < < < All Commission publications may be freely reproduced, in any form, with appropriate credit. 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