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European Union: European Council’s Commitments to Refugee Crisis

(Sept. 30, 2015) On September 24, 2015, the European Council, composed of heads of state or of government, convened in Brussels, Belgium to discuss the unfolding migrant crisis in the European Union. (Press Release, European Council, Informal Meeting of EU Heads of State or Government on Migration, 23 September 2015 – Statement (Sept. 24, 2015).) At the end of the meeting, the European Council issued a statement in which, to alleviate the plight of asylum-seekers fleeing war-torn areas, it committed to:

  • assist with at least an additional €1 billion (about US$1.11 billion) in funding to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Program, and other nongovernmental organizations working with EU Members to help refugees (id.);
  • assist Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, which have been either accepting refugees or providing funds to Syrian refugee camps (id.);
  • provide additional resources to the EU’s Border Agency (Frontex), the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and the EU’s law enforcement agency (EUROPOL) to handle the migrant crisis and improve controls at the external borders of the EU (id.);
  • assist those EU Member States that are used by migrants as points of entry,   such as Greece and Italy with identification, registration, and fingerprinting of migrants and facilitate their relocation or return to their countries of origin (id.); and
  • increase the amount of an Emergency Trust Fund (ETF) through contributions by the Member States.  The European Commission has allocated €1.8 billion from EU funds to establish the ETF, whose mandate is to address the root causes of irregular migration in Africa. (European Commission, A European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, EUROPA (last visited Sept. 28, 2015).)