The final conference of the Know-Reset project organised by ECRE and the European University Institute (EUI) took place this week in Brussels. Through a review of the legal framework, and potential capacity for Member States to conduct resettlement of refugees in Europe, the Know Reset findings highlight the diversity between Member States in their resettlement efforts. This includes divergence in the status and rights granted; selection procedures and criteria; as well as the diversity of activities implemented in pre, and post arrival of resettled refugees.

Participants in the conference – including local and national NGOs, EU government officials, the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), European Commission, and members of the European Parliament and the European Asylum Support Office – discussed whether Europe should focus on more and / or better resettlement.  While some EU governments emphasized the need for improving the quality of resettlement rather than increasing the quotas, MEP Rui Tavares remarked that. “At least we should ensure that we are not doing less resettlement and worse”.

Europe’s contribution to resettlement has been minimal in the past, with 9 out of 10 resettled refugees worldwide going to North America. Since the adoption of the Joint EU Resettlement Programme (JEURP) in 2012, more EU Member States have committed to coordinate their efforts for more resettlement places in Europe. However, the project shows that while countries commit to resettle an increasing number of refugees, in practice these quotas are not always met.

The project website maps the legal and policy frameworks, as well actual practices related to refugee resettlement in the 27 EU Member States. During the final conference, six countries – Sweden, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Finland, Bulgaria and Spain – with varying degrees of experience in resettlement shared their resettlement practices. These case studies highlighted the importance of EU funding to encourage resettlement among new resettlement countries.

With many factors affecting the decision to resettle, stakeholders agreed that the tripartite collaborative character of resettlement should be strengthened between UNHCR, Member States at all levels, and NGOs.



This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 12 July 2013
You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.