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European Commission - Fact Sheet

Towards a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration: Frequently Asked Questions

Strasbourg, 7 June 2016

Towards a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration: Frequently Asked Questions

1. A new Partnership Framework on migration

How is the European Agenda on Migration helping us face the current migration challenge?

On 23 April 2014, in Malta, Jean-Claude Juncker presented a five point plan on immigration, calling for more solidarity in the EU's migration policy as part of his campaign to become European Commission President. The Juncker Commission identified migration as one of its ten political priorities prior to taking office in November 2014. Immediate action was taken in 2015 to tackle the most urgent challenge and save lives at sea, while at the same time defining a comprehensive strategy to manage migration better in all its aspects, combining external and internal policies.

The European Agenda on Migration, presented on 13 May 2015, outlines the various lines of action allowing the EU to comprehensively address both the internal and external aspects of the current migration challenge. The external aspects allow the EU to fully embed the issue of migration in its overall foreign policy dialogue with third countries, keeping in mind that some of these countries are equally, if not more, affected by migratory flows than Europe. The external dimension of the EU's migration policy is focused on cooperation with third countries on tackling the root causes, stemming irregular flows to Europe and returning those with no right to international protection. Partnerships and cooperation with key countries of origin, transit and destination is one of the key components of the external dimension of EU's migration policy, for example through the Khartoum and Rabat processes, the Africa-EU Migration and mobility dialogue, the Budapest Process, the Prague Process, the Western Balkans Leaders' Meeting, the Valetta Summit, the High-Level Dialogues on Migration and the EU Turkey Statement.

Why do we need to reinforce this Agenda with a new Partnership Framework on Migration?

Since the adoption of the European Agenda on Migration a year ago, much as been done within and beyond the EU's borders. Hundreds of thousands of people have been rescued at sea. The Valletta summit in November 2015 brought migration issues to the heart of the EU's relations with African countries. The EU-Turkey Statement established new ways to bring order into migration flows and save lives, with an immediate impact. New EU financial instruments are helping create a better future at home for those who might otherwise have been ready to risk their lives on the dangerous journey to Europe. These actions illustrate the EU's willingness to address specific migratory challenges, but also the long-term drivers of migration.

However, much more needs to be done. The EU is still faced with a humanitarian crisis. Third countries and EU partners are housing millions of refugees, many of them unaccompanied minors, forced to leave their homes, and economic migrants who aspire to come to Europe. External migratory pressure, driven by geopolitical and economic dynamics in the European neighbourhood and beyond is the "new normal" for both EU and partner countries.

Consequently, the EU needs to further strengthen its strategic, long-term approach vis-à-vis third countries and enhance internal coherence and coordination with the EU Member States. A more coordinated, systematic and structured approach to maximise the synergies and leverages of the Union's internal and external policies is required.

What are the lessons learned from the experience so far?

Migration management is at the top of the EU's external relations priorities. It is essential that, in close cooperation with all Member States, it is made clear to our partners that a solution to the irregular and uncontrolled movement of people, which feeds smugglers and traffickers networks' business, is a priority for the Union as a whole. While the High-Level Dialogues, which cover the key interests of the EU and its partners, have brought concrete political commitments and first practical actions to improve cooperation, much still needs to be done, in particular on returns and readmission.

The key lessons learned include the need for all EU actors to work in a coordinated manner with the EU and its Member States combining their financial and human resources and their political capital. A mix of positive and negative incentives will be integrated into the EU's development and trade policies to reward those countries willing to cooperate effectively with the EU on migration management and ensure there are consequences for those who refuse.

What are the core objectives of the new Partnership Framework on migration?

The Commission is today setting a new framework for the EU's cooperation with its third-country partners. The new Partnership Framework includes short and long term objectives:

  • The short term objectives are to save lives in the Mediterranean sea; increase the rate of returns to countries of origin and transit and enable migrants and refugees to stay as close as possible to their homes and to avoid embarking on dangerous journeys to reach Europe.

  • In the long term, the objective of the new Partnership Framework is to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement through reinforced EU support to third countries for capacity building and by advancing their political, social and economic situation.

In order to deliver concrete results to the benefit of all, political commitment from the EU, its Member States and third countries is required, both in terms of bolstering resilience and managing irregular migration flows including return and readmission.

The EU will step up efforts by making use of all EU policy tools and instruments by continuing the joint EU/Member States approach already being implemented through the High-Level Dialogues which will now be operationalised into compacts with a limited number of priority third countries of origin and transit to ensure a truly integrated and coordinated approach to achieving visible results on the ground in the short term. This also requires clearly setting out positive and negative incentives.

What are the immediate deliverables of the new Partnership Framework on migration?

The immediate deliverable will be to refine cooperation between the EU, Member States and third countries. In the medium and longer term, this could contribute to stabilising and advancing the social and economic situation of third countries, also delivering on issues of importance to the EU.

Immediate and short term operational actions include:

  • elaborating "compacts" with a number of priority third countries of origin and transit, such as Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, but also Jordan and Lebanon;

  • setting up a coordination mechanism between the EU level and the Member States to deliver the compacts, with the identification of negative and positive incentives being a key part of this process;

  • Member states nominating European Migration Liaison Officers in order to complete the network by autumn 2016;

  • mainstreaming the goals of the migration partnership in all EU policies, tools and budget programming;

  • ensuring that EU external policy in tackling root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement will also support the Migration Partnership.

  • deploying close to €8 billion over 2016-2020, which will help deliver the compacts;

  • making a proposal for an External Investment Plan to mobilise up to €31 billion of investment, with the potential for this to increase to €62 billion if Member States and other partners match the EU contribution, in order to address the long term objective of tackling the root causes of migration, while contributing to the achievement of other development goals.

The Partnership Framework will not only help respond to crises through immediate and measurable results, but also lay the foundations of an enhanced cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination addressing root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement with a well-managed migration and mobility policy at its core. It should help develop safe and sustainable reception capacities and provide lasting prospects close to home for refugees and their families in third countries affected by migratory pressure. In addition to reducing the possibilities for irregular entry, the Partnership Framework must put in place pathways for people to come to the EU legally – whether to seek international protection, or to seek work, education, research or investment opportunities.

What will be the components of partnerships (compacts) with third countries? What will the partnerships entail?

Due to different situations in different countries, an individual approach for each partner is needed, taking into account the specificities of the country. Each Compact will therefore be tailor-made.

Case by case, the partnerships will have to be forged in a way to match the needs of our partner countries, while also taking EU priorities into account.

Based on the leverages already identified in connection with the work undertaken through the High-Level Dialogues, the EU will have to make use of the external dimensions of all EU policies – e.g. security, trade, development, culture – when fostering these partnerships.

For example in Western Africa, a key region of origin for irregular migrants towards Europe, specific funding provided by the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa is being mobilised. The funding supports projects and activities which help tackle the root causes of irregular migration in the long term and improve migration management in the short term. To increase the impact of cooperation within this region, the EU will engage with countries, starting with Mali, Sénégal, Niger and Nigeria, to agree on tailor made compacts, building on high level dialogues and identified incentives.

How will the new Partnership Framework reinforce return, readmission and reintegration policies?

An essential element underpinning the new Partnerships Framework is a coherent, credible and effective policy with regard to the return of irregular migrants, in full respect of human rights and the principle of non-refoulement. Effective return, readmission and reintegration policies for those not qualifying for protection are an essential part of combating irregular migration and will help discourage people from risking their lives.

To date, 17 readmission agreements are in force with the following partner countries: Hong Kong, Macao, Sri Lanka, Albania, Russia, Ukraine, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Pakistan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Cap Verde. In addition, a number of readmission agreements are currently under negotiation.

To ensure that third countries fulfil their obligations to readmit their nationals, the following elements will be prioritised:

  • A focus on the countries of origin, which should also facilitate cooperation on readmission with countries of transit;

  • Coordinated and coherent EU and Member State action on readmission where the paramount priority is to achieve fast and operational returns, and not necessarily formal readmission agreements;

  • The facilitation of the identification of irregular migrants in view of their readmission by strengthening third countries' capacity to ensure functioning civil registries and fingerprint or biometrics digitalisation, as well as capacity building on border and migration management;

  • Stepping up Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration initiatives on the route to help countries of transit in returning third country nationals to their countries of origin whenever possible, including promoting regional cooperation among countries of origin and transit;

  • The acceptance by partner countries to use the EU laissez-passer for return operations.

How will the new Partnership Framework reinforce the fight against migrants smuggling?

In line with the priorities identified by the EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling and building on the partnerships with Turkey and the Western Balkan countries and the experience of EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, the new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration will:

  • assist countries in addressing gaps in their legislative and institutional framework to counter migrant smuggling, including ratification of and commitment to implement the UN Protocol on migrant smuggling;

  • assist national authorities through targeted capacity building to step up investigation and prosecution, including financial investigation, tracing of illicit financial flows and assets recovery;

  • encourage a regional approach through dialogue and the creation of regional strategies to address migrant smuggling along all migratory routes;

  • reinforce border management through technical assistance and capacity building, including detection of fraudulent documents;

  • improve and foster timely gathering and sharing of information and statistics.

Through the approach endorsed by the new Migration Partnerships, EU Cooperation Platforms on migrant smuggling could also be launched in key locations to step up the coordination of EU activity in supporting the capability of partner countries to target the organised crime behind migrant smuggling.

Further deployment of European Migration Liaison Officers to priority origin and transit countries will support the improved coordination of cross EU cooperation on migrant smuggling.

Cooperation with the UN and other international organisations such as Interpol and the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) will also be strengthened.

How will the new Migration Partnership reinforce coordination between the EU and Member States? What role do Member States have?

All actors – Member States, EU institutions and key third countries – need to work together in partnership to respond to the migratory challenge faced today.

Some Member States may have more developed bilateral relationships with third countries, reflecting political, historic and cultural ties fostered through decades of contacts. The full involvement, expertise and resources of Member States will be essential in delivering the compacts.

Increased cooperation and better coordination is thus a prerequisite for delivering on the new Partnership Framework. The EU and the relevant Member States should work in tandem to tap into the EU’s collective influence to achieve joint objectives. In this regard, the EU will continue to expand the approach it has already introduced with the High-Level Dialogues.

How will the Commission fund this new initiative?

To achieve these goals, the Commission will take measures focused on both the short and the longer term. As part of the short-term efforts, which will be pursued immediately, available instruments and resources will be deployed in a more targeted, coordinated, flexible and rapid manner.

In deploying existing financial instruments, special attention will be given to projects aimed at improving migration management and those enabling third countries to fulfil their obligations to readmit their nationals. Existing innovative financial tools, such as the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa or the Syria Trust Fund, have allowed more flexible, coordinated and quicker identification and awarding of targeted projects. The same pattern will be replicated to support the partnership. Member States involvement is essential and Member States should match the EU's contribution as swiftly as possible.

To help deliver the compacts, the EU and its Member States will be able to channel the following financing tools:

  • €1 billion to be added to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, consisting of €0.5 billion from the European Development Fund (EDF) reserve and €0.5 billion from the Member States;

  • €3.6 billion from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and €1 billion from the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis.

  • Nearly €2.4 billion in total pledged contributions from the EU and its Member States as additional funds for Lebanon, Jordan (and Syria) at the London conference;

  • Macro-financial assistance to avoid economic instability of up to €1 billion in loans to Tunisia (€0.3 billion being implemented and €0.5 billion proposed by the Commission in February 2016) and Jordan (€0.2 billion million under consideration);

  • Total aid flows from the EU and its Member States to the key priority countries which recently averaged €4.4 billion per year.

Including the funding already used, this would make available nearly €8 billion over the period 2016-2020 to support key third countries, on the basis of a joint effort from the EU and its Member States to closely coordinate development assistance.

For the longer term, the Commission will propose an ambitious External Investment Plan this autumn, building on the experience with the successful Investment Plan for Europe, which could unlock €31 billion in investments, with potential to reach €62 billion in public and private investments in the real economy, if Member States and other partners join in, and match the EU budget contribution.

What is meant by private investors and resources and how are they going to be attracted?

The External Investment Plan will be a package of measures to unlock investments in the real economy of close to €31 billion in the next few years, to tackle the root causes of migration, while contributing to the achievement of other development goals. As in the case of the successful 'Investment Plan for Europe', such a plan would be based on three pillars, adjusted to reflect the different context of developing countries:

  • The first pillar would enable using scarce public resources to mobilise private investment in an innovative way by offering additional guarantees and concessional funds.

  • The second pillar would focus on technical assistance, helping local authorities and companies to develop a higher number of bankable projects and make them known to the international investor community.

  • The third pillar would target the general business environment by fostering good governance, fighting corruption, removing barriers to investment and market distortions.

In autumn, the Commission will make a proposal for a new Fund as part of the ambitious External Investment Plan to mobilise investments in developing third countries, building on the experience of the successful Investment Plan for Europe. The Commission will make available a total of €3.1 billion until 2020: This will consist of €2 billion from the European Development Fund (EDF), of which €1.6 billion will come from the African Investment Facility and an additional €0.4 billion from EDF envelopes. Moreover, €0.94 billion from the Neighbourhood Investment Facility and €0.16 billion from the Development Cooperation Instrument will be mobilised. This total sum of €3.1 billion is expected to trigger additional public and private investments of up to €31 billion. In order to enhance further the firepower and the efficiency of the new Fund, the Commission calls on Member States to match these total EU contributions, thus potentially bringing the total amount of additional investment close to €62 billion

Member States and other partners, including International and National Financial Institutions and Development Banks will be invited to participate. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will of course also continue to play a key role in this context.

Earlier this year, the European Council invited the EIB to present an initiative in June that would rapidly mobilise additional financing in support of sustainable growth, vital infrastructure and social cohesion in Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans countries. To this effect, the EIB is working on a proposal for a package that could mobilise substantial additional financing over the next five years in the targeted countries.

2. State of play of existing EU external cooperation on migration with third countries

What processes have been launched so far to help manage migration flows from countries of origin and countries of transit?

Partnerships and cooperation with key countries of origin, transit and destination has been one of the key components of the external dimension of EU's migration policy, for example through the Khartoum and Rabat processes, the Africa-EU Migration and mobility dialogue, the Budapest Process, the Prague Process, the Western Balkans Leaders' Meeting, the Valetta Summit, the High-Level Dialogues on Migration and the EU Turkey Statement.

The EU has over the past year in particular developed its cooperation with the Western Balkans, Africa, and Turkey.

At the Western Balkans Leaders' Meeting in October 2015, convened on the initiative of President Juncker, leaders of 12 countries agreed on a 17-point plan to achieve the gradual, controlled and orderly movement of persons along the Western Balkans route. Key issues included border controls, reception capacity and the management of migration flows between the group of countries facing the highest pressure over recent months. A system of regular and structured dialogue, information sharing and cooperation between countries in the region has since been set up, combined with direct EU support to specific needs. €21.74 million has been allocated in EU humanitarian aid to help refugees and migrants in the Western Balkans with key essentials such as temporary shelter, food, health, protection and in particular child protection, in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

With African countries, the Valletta Summit, held on 11-12 November 2015, enabled African and EU leaders to establish a frank dialogue and a framework for cooperating on migration including the principles, the language and a comprehensive action plan. At the Summit, leaders agreed to a number of actions aimed at better managing migration together and to launch the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (see below).

The EU has significantly strengthened its cooperation on migration with Turkey through the EU-Turkey joint Action Plan activated at the EU-Turkey Summit on 29 November and the EU-Turkey Statement agreed on 18 March 2016 by EU Heads of State or Government and Turkey. The EU-Turkey Statement aims to end the irregular migration from Turkey to the EU and replace it instead with legal channels of resettlement of refugees to the European Union. The aim is to replace disorganised, chaotic, irregular and dangerous migratory flows by organised, safe and legal pathways to Europe for those entitled to international protection in line with EU and international law. The EU-Turkey Statement, which took effect as of 20 March 2016, has produced immediate results, reducing by 90% the number of irregular arrivals from Turkey to the EU.

What about bilateral dialogues? What is the aim of the High Level Dialogues on migration?

Migration is now fully embedded in EU foreign policy and constitutes a central element of EU's overall political relations with third countries. High-Level Dialogues on Migration, in particular, aim at enhancing cooperation on migration with important countries of origin and transit, including on returns and readmission. These dialogues have been conducted so far, in different formats and at various stages, with a number of countries including Niger, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali and Bangladesh. High-Level Dialogues have been held at political level by High-Representative/Vice-President Mogherini as well as by her fellow Commissioners and Foreign Ministers of EU Member States acting on her behalf. This full and transparent cooperation between the external action service, the Commission and the Member States has been particularly important to ensure common messaging and increase the EUs collective leverage vis-a-vis its partners.

How does the EU cooperate more specifically with Africa on migration?

Africa and Europe enjoy a long-standing and comprehensive partnership which has deepened and diversified over decades and in particular since the first Africa-EU Summit in 2000. The Valletta Summit in November complemented already existingprocesses with African Countries, focused on different aspects of migration.

Through its long-standing development cooperation, the EU has assisted African countries in a number of different sectors (governance, sustainable agriculture, infrastructure, energy, health, education, peace, security, trade economic growth and job creation and migration) and has attained tangible results as regards the Millennium Development Goals.

The EU is a long-standing donor to Africa and is also the world's largest donor giving more than half of Official Development Assistance (ODA) worldwide. Out of EU collective overall Official Development Assistance (ODA), which amounted to €68 billion in 2015, the EU and its Member States have already invested in tackling the root causes of migration with over €20 billion of ODA to Africa every year. Between 2014-2020, the European Commission's ODA allocations for Africa will amount to over €31 billion, making Africa the main recipient of ODA.

On the basis of its Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) – the overarching framework of the EU external migration and asylum policy – the EU is engaged in a broad dialogue with countries on the African continent on migration and mobility at bilateral, regional and continental levels:

  • Continental level, with the African Union (AU). A key political declaration on migration and mobility was endorsed by the Heads of State and Government at the EU-Africa Summit in April 2014.

  • Regional level, with policy dialogues with countries along the western migratory route (Rabat Process) and the eastern migratory route (Khartoum Process). These dialogues are underpinned by concrete action plans and financial resources. The EU has also launched the new Regional Development and Protection Programmes (RDPPs) in North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

  • Bilateral level, with a wide range of programme and project support, that aim to contribute to institutional and legislative reforms and capacity building in partner countries, as well as specific political agreements concluded with Morocco, Tunisia, Cape Verde and Nigeria, and Ethiopia. These political agreements are supported by concrete EU funded actions.

What is the state of play of EU's Emergency Trust Fund for Africa?

The EU Emergency Trust Fund was established at the Valletta Summit on 12 November 2015 to address the migration crises in the region of Sahel/Lake Chad, Horn of Africa and North Africa encompassing a total of 23 countries. The Trust Fund is aimed at supporting all aspects of stability and to contribute to better migration management as well as addressing the root causes of destabilisation, forced displacement and irregular migration by promoting resilience, economic and equal opportunities, security and development and addressing human rights' abuses.

The Trust Fund is meant to complement existing EU instruments, national and regional frameworks, and bilateral programs of EU Member States by providing a swift and flexible answer to migration-related challenges.

The initial resources allocated to the Trust Fund for Africa amount to €1.88 billion – with €1.8 billion from different financial instruments under the EU budget and the European Development Fund, and €81.8 million from Member States contributions. Projects worth more than €750 million have already been approved to fund specific programmes in favour of the Sahel and Lake Chad regions, as well as the Horn of Africa.

How is EU supporting border management in Africa?

Existing Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations in the Sahel region have been adjusted in order to provide support to their respective host countries in border management. As part of their recently amended mandates, EUCAP SAHEL Niger, EUCAP SAHEL Mali and EUTM Mali are now contributing to enhancing border management capabilities, both in the countries and in the region. The missions support local authorities in developing border management and security at the country's borders at strategic and operational level. Work is mainly carried out through advising, training and mentoring counterparts.  

Ongoing work also includes preparations to possibly set up an increased civilian CSDP presence in Libya, including on border management, at the request of the Government of National Accord, should the circumstances allow for it.

How does the EU support Syria and neighbouring countries in addressing the ongoing refugee crisis?

The EU is fully committed to tackling the root causes of the Syria crisis. The EU objective is to bring an end to the conflict and enable the Syrian people to live in peace in their own country. The latest EU position is stated in the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of 23 May 2016.

Since the beginning of the Syria crisis, the EU and its Member States collectively provided €6.4 billion to address its causes and consequences. At the London conference in February 2016, additional commitments amounting to €3.3 billion were made, almost two thirds of all commitments made for 2016.

The Commission established in 2014 the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syria crisis. Since May 2015, the Syria Trust Fund has attracted contributions from 21 Member States and Turkey. Actions for a total amount of €427 million have been approved, including significant support to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq with a focus on increased access of refugees to education, training, livelihoods and healthcare. The EU is in the process of negotiating bilateral compacts with both Lebanon and Jordan that would entail mutual commitments to improve the situation of refugees including better access to basic rights in exchange for stronger EU economic support for both countries including trade-related measures to strengthen the economy and resilience of both countries. Consistent with the London Conference pledges, a new macro-financial assistance programme of €200 million for Jordan, following up on the previous programme of €180 million disbursed in 2015, will assist the country to address the spill overs caused at macroeconomic level.

Meanwhile, the Facility for Refugees in Turkey is the answer to the EU Member States’ call for significant additional funding to support refugees and host communities in the country. The Facility is designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner, focusing on humanitarian assistance, education, migration management, health, municipal infrastructure, and socio-economic support.

What about Libya? Does the Partnership Framework foresee any particular measures to address the situation?

Bearing in mind that the best guarantee for a proper management of migration from the coasts of Libya remains a stable and united Libyan government, and that the EU has continuously supported UN-led efforts to facilitate the political process in Libya, the EU already has a package in place to support the Government of National Accord and the Libyan population, some elements of which are already being implemented. This package of support includes the following elements:

  • Current financial support: A total envelope of projects worth around €100 million has been committed, and part of it is already being disbursed. Since 2014 the EU has delivered €12.5 million in pure humanitarian aid projects and up to €40 million in projects to tackle the needs of those affected by the conflict;

  • Protection: fostering protection, resilience and stabilisation of displaced populations, together with their host communities, inside and outside the detention centres is of primary importance.

  • Support to security sector reform, with a specific focus on police and criminal justice: a possible civilian CSDP mission, as well as other EU-funded capacity-building programmes, could be set up at the request of the Libyan government to contribute to building capacity and providing support, including in the related fields of legal enforcement capacity in border management and migration; this could also complement envisaged training activities for the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy envisaged under Operation Sophia;

  • Governance: the EU stands ready to support the Government in the elaboration of legal and institutional frameworks compliant with human rights and international conventions. This includes capacity building of relevant administrations and institutions, including law enforcement bodies;

  • Technical assistance: besides existing possibilities for technical support, possible Frontex support might be envisaged by using the existing mandate to trigger a working arrangement with Libya.

How does the EU cooperate with Asia on migration?

High-Level Dialogues on Migration have already been held with a number of key Asian countries, including with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The EU also assists these countries, as well as Myanmar/Burma, with specific programmes aimed at supporting internally displaced people and refugees, as well as those affected by conflict and communal violence.

The EU also intends to explore the possibilities of launching a comprehensive migration dialogue with Iran as part of a broader policy dialogue.

Does the EU provide humanitarian aid for refugees and internally displaced people?

The EU is the world's leading humanitarian aid donor and provides lifesaving emergency aid to refugees who are among the most vulnerable in humanitarian crises. The European Commission gave more than €1 billion or some 73% of its annual humanitarian aid budget in 2015 to projects helping refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs).

The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department invests heavily in assisting displaced people and is currently responding to crises such as: Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan, Somali refugees in Kenya and Yemen, Congolese refugees in the Great Lake region, Colombian refugees in Ecuador and Venezuela, Myanmar refugees in Thailand, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Sahrawi refugees.

Humanitarian aid delivered by the European Commission helps:

  • meet the most pressing needs of refugees;

  • protect and support refugees during their displacement and when returning to their place of origin; and,

  • increase the self-reliance of refugees

In terms of budget, the biggest part of humanitarian aid for refugees consists in food assistance and nutrition (47%). Other main sectors are health (13%), water, sanitation and hygiene (10%), shelter and non-food items (9%) as well as protection (8%).

The Commission focuses its support on organisations dealing with migrants, refugees and internally displaced personss including the UNHCR, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the Red Cross and Red Crescent family and non-governmental organisations.

Through this support, the Commission's action paves the way for durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons. It coordinates its assistance with the organisations in charge of early recovery and development.

While supporting the victims of displacement, the European Commission is also working to decrease the number and scale of refugee crises. This takes place, for instance, through its work on disaster preparedness and prevention, which aims to reduce the vulnerability of disadvantaged communities and prevent their displacement.


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