Avramopoulos: It is in our interest to reach a common global understanding on how to manage migrants flows

“It is in our interest to reach a common global understanding on how to manage flows of migrants and refugees worldwide,” EU Commisioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Tuesday at the Interparliamentary Committee Meeting on the UN Global Compacts on refugees and migrants and the role of Parliaments.

Avramopoulos also said that it is a unique opportunity to develop a broader common understanding on how to humanly and efficiently manage migration together, now and in the long term.

“The European Union has an important role to play,” he stressed and added: “It is also timely from a European perspective as the migration situation is still fragile and our response must be further reinforced. For each compact, we have to reach a good balance like the one we try to keep in our comprehensive migration policy. The approach that we have developed all together in Europe over the past 3 years has delivered results. Indeed arrivals in 2017 are 28% lower than in 2014, before the crisis. Our EU external borders are better protected.”

Avramopoulos underlined that the living conditions of migrants in third countries have improved, especially in Turkey. “Asylum applications have decreased by 50 pct and Member States have speeded-up their assessment.”

“We have stepped up our efforts to return irregular migrants and increase the safe and legal access to Europe. The number of forcibly displaced persons worldwide today has surpassed the unprecedented number of 65.6 million. With the plight of refugees exacerbated these last few years, let’s be clear: obtaining a successful compact on this matter is an historical necessity,” he said.

“The EU remains fully mobilized to address major drivers of forced displacement, to prevent new conflicts and resolve existing ones. Yet addressing the causes of displacement takes time. Fixing the situation in Syria will, for instance, take many years. In the meantime, there is a great need for global responsibility sharing and solidarity in order to manage this record number of forced displaced persons,” he added.

The Commissioner noted that the added value of the Global Compact on Refugees is to design sustainable solutions in order to be better equipped collectively, to prevent, react and manage flows of people fleeing war or persecutions on a global scale.

The global compact should ensure a better responsibility sharing among countries, he stressed adding that the European Union fully supports this goal.

“Based on our experience over the past years, we know that we have to build crisis-resilient mechanisms to assist people in need of protection, both in Europe but also with our partners abroad. In this respect, Europe is delivering on its commitments. In 2016, 672 000 received a protection status in Europe. In 2017, EU Member States have granted protection to 382 000 persons (mostly Afghans, Syrians and Iraqis).

At the same time, other countries, especially in the Middle East and in Africa, are hosting an even greater number of refugees. It is our duty and interest to provide them with the support they need. In this respect, the EU–Turkey statement is a good example of how we can support a country that shelters almost 3 million refugees.”

The EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, with a total budget of 3 billion euros, proved to be the right tool to deliver practical support, from humanitarian aid to education, healthcare, municipal infrastructure and socio-economic assistance to refugees and host communities in Turkey, Avramopoulos said.

The EU Commissioner stated that over the past 2 years, Europe has made significant progress.

“Through the implementation of the European resettlement scheme of July 2015, the EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016, around 27 000 refugees were resettled. We want to go further and resettle 50 000 people over the next 2 years. Through the Global compact, more countries around the globe should engage in the resettlement path,” he noted.

“A better coordinated approach is valuable for the security of all of us,” Avramopoulos concluded