Progress on the Implementation of the European Agenda on Migration

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Research;Aamna Rafiq-Edited;Najam Rafique

The European Commission presented a Progress Report on the Implementation of the European Agenda on Migration to the European Parliament and the European Council on March 13, 2018. European Agenda on Migration was proposed by the Commission in 2015 to manage the ongoing migration crisis in short, medium and long-term. This report provides a pragmatic assessment of the initiative and highlights the key actions taken before reaching a comprehensive deal on migration by June 2018.

The report presents a comprehensive and factual situation regarding progress made in all dimensions. It specifically emphasizes on the migration trends, asylum, relocation and resettlement of migrants. According to the Commission's report, the overall situation of illegal migration to European Union (EU) was stable but challenging in 2017. The arrival rate dropped by 28% compared to pre-crisis year 2014. Furthermore, the pressure on national migration systems has also decreased. In 2017, EU countries received 685,000 asylum applications, including 160,000 lodged by children. The number of these applications is 43% less than 2016 (See Figure 1). A lot of focus is on the situation along the migration routes.

The four main routes for illegal migration to EU are:

1.       Eastern Mediterranean route.

2.       Western Balkans route.               

3.       Central Mediterranean route.

4.       Western Atlantic /Mediterranean route.

The report highlights the dynamics of each route in great detail. The Eastern Mediterranean route is mainly used by the nationals of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to reach Turkey and Greece. The overall number of arrivals along this route decreased in 2018 as compared to 2016, but a steady increase was recorded in irregular crossings from Turkey to Greece via land border. The Western Balkan route showed a relatively stable trend because of strict border control by the Balkan states in collaboration with EU. However, the report points out possible development of new routes or diversions as a result of this effective management.  The majority of the illegal crossings were recorded at the border of EU with Serbia.

The Central Mediterranean route continues to account for the largest number of illegal migrants from African countries. Due to the Commission's special focus on this route in Partnership Framework on Migration and the Malta Declaration, a significant reduction was recorded since 2016. The number of arrivals on the Western Mediterranean/Atlantic route is increasing since June 2017, and this trend continued in 2018. In 2017, approximately 28,349 migrants had arrived in Spain through this route which is more than double the number in 2016. The top nationalities of the migrants are Guinean, Moroccan, Malian and Ivorian. The report emphasize on the need to continue working on all migratory routes in order to maintain the downward trend in 2018.

Figure 1: Illegal Border Crossings at the EU External Border and Pending Asylum Applications (2014 - 2017​

Source (s):         European Commission, Progress Report on the Implementation of the European Agenda on Migration (Brussels, March 14, 2018).

Table 1: Situation Along the Main Migration Routes (2016 - March 2018)

 

Main Migration Routes

 

Eastern Mediterranean

Western Balkans

Central Mediterranean

Western Atlantic                             

/Mediterranean                           

 

Number of Arrivals

2016

182,227

-

-

10,000 (approx.)

2017

42,319

-

119 369

28,349                                                 

2018

 

3,126

-

5 457

3,804                                                

Trend Since 2016

 

 

Continued

Relative Stability

Decreasing

Increasing

%

-

-

65%

17%                                                    

Nationality of Migrants        (2017-18)

 

Syrian      (32%) Afghani   (13%)

Iraqi         (27%)

Iranian

Eritrean (24%) Tunisian (20%) Nigerian    (6%)

Guinean (17%)

Moroccan (17%)

Malian (15%)

Ivorian    (13%)

Destination

Greece, Turkey

Albania, Greece

Italy

Spain

Source (s):    European Commission, Progress Report on the Implementation of the European Agenda on Migration

 (Brussels, March 14, 2018).

 

By March 7, 2018, the Commission successfully relocated 33,846 migrants to 28 states (member and associated) out of which 11,999 and 21,847 were relocated only from Italy and Greece respectively. The top five receiving countries are Germany, France, Sweden, The Netherlands and Finland. In addition, the Commission also resettled 29,314 migrants to 31 states (member and associated) among which 12,476 are settled under the EU- Turkey Settlement and 1,855 under 50,000 Scheme. The top five settling states are Germany, France, Norway, The Netherlands and United Kingdom (See Table 2). The report illustrates an extensive variety of measures supported by the European Commission, Member States, United Nations, International Organisation for Migration, African Union and other international non-profit organizations for an effective implementation of all the initiatives (See Table 3).  Most important among them are the European Agenda on Migration like joint African Union-European Union-United Nations Taskforce, EU-funded UNHCR Emergency Transit Mechanism, EU Trust Fund for Africa, External Investment Plan and the EU-Turkey Statement.

Table 2: Statistics on Relocation and Resettlement of Migrants

 

Sr. No.

Relocation

Resettlement

Associated/Member State

Number of Migrants Relocated

Member/Associated State

Number of Migrants Resettled

1.

Germany

10,282

Germany

4,313

2.

France

4,944

France

3,910

3.

Sweden

3,047

Norway

3,500

4.

Netherlands

2,724

Netherlands

3,051

5.

Finland

1,981

United Kingdom

2,200

 

Source (s):    European Commission, Progress Report on the Implementation of the European Agenda on Migration (Brussels, March 14, 2018).

 

Table 3: Support Programmes and Financial Assistance (2014 - 2020)

 

Sr. No

 

 

Programme

 

Funding Agency

 

 

Year

Receiving Region/Country

/Organization

Amount (Million EUR)

1.

Emergency Assistance

EU

 

2015

 

Greece

393

Bulgaria

172

2017

Italy

39.92

2.

National Programs

EU

 

 

2014 – 2020

 

Greece

561

Bulgaria

97.1

Italy

650

3.

Emergency Support Instrument

EU

 

2016 – 2017

Greece

440

2018

Greece

198

4.

Voluntary Return and Reintegration Program

EU

2017

Greece

24

5.

Internal Security Fund-Borders

EU

2017

Bulgaria

10.5

6.

The EU-Turkey Statement

EU

 

2014

(Construction)

Facility for Refugees in Turkey

 

3000

1850

2018

3000

7.

The Emergency Social Safety Net

 

2016

Facility for Refugees in Turkey

1.2

8.

Assistance and Protection Needs

EU

 

2017

 

Syria

560

Lebanon

334

Jordan

228

9.

Action Plan of 4 July 2017

EU

2017

Italy

35

10.

Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

EU

2018

Libya

115

11.

Mixed Migration Program

EU

2017

Libya

90

12.

Border Management Program

EU Trust Fund

2017

Libya

46.3

13.

Support  To Municipalities

EU Trust Fund

2017

Libya

50

14.

EU Trust Fund for Africa

EU

2017

Africa

468.27

15.

External Investment Plan

EU

2017

Africa

9600

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

2017

Africa

40

16.

The African Peace Facility

EU

2017

G5 Sahel Joint Force