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Brussels, 8 March 2012

Statement by EU Commissioner Malmström on the Council adoption of a common position on the Joint EU resettlement programme

"In a world that is still torn by the man-made horrors of war, persecution and famine, resettlement of refugees in most cases means the difference between life and death. The aim of the new programme is to improve EU's capacity, which will help us to do more.

I therefore welcome today's adoption of a common position by the Council on the 'Joint EU Resettlement Programme' presented by the Commission in 2009. This is a much needed measure and a considerable step towards concrete engagements and increased cooperation regarding resettlement of refugees to Europe and will allow us to pool our resources and make a true difference in a spirit of solidarity. I also welcome the efforts by the European Parliament and the rapporteur and I am looking forward to the adoption of the programme by the European Parliament."

Joint EU resettlement Programme

Refugee resettlement is not only a life-saving measure but an important solidarity gesture on the part of receiving EU countries towards third countries hosting large numbers of refugees.

2012 is the deadline for setting up the Common European Asylum System which will guarantee common minimum standards and procedures, and a uniform refugee status. A stronger engagement in resettlement also forms an integral part of the EU common asylum policy.

The Joint EU Resettlement Programme will increase the impact of the EU resettlement efforts in providing protection to refugees and maximising the strategic impact of resettlement through a better targeting of those persons who are in greatest need of resettlement.

The Resettlement Programme will specify a broader list of refugees whose resettlement will qualify for EU funding. There will also be specific EU resettlement priorities, specifying the nationalities of refugees and the countries from which resettlement should take place as a priority and for whom EU funding is available. In 2013 that list will include refugees from Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Burma and Eritrea. Finally, the programme offers additional financial incentive for the countries that start to engage in resettlement activities.

For the period 2014-2020, the Commission proposes to set up a new mechanism which will be more flexible and attractive for the Member States and which will allow for more strategic use of resettlement. This should lead to a substantial increase in resettlement to the EU. The aim is to see more national resettlement schemes established and to increase the already existing ones.

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