The European Commission’s Fifth Report on Relocation and Resettlement published on 13 July finds that the relocation system has many deficiencies, including a lack of relocations generally, lengthy response times and hardly any relocations of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. In line with the previous four reports, the Commission urges Member States to fully comply with their obligations.

Ten months after the adoption of the Council Decisions, 3,056 persons in need of international protection have been relocated. This is far from the objective of 160,000 relocations within two years. Several Member States have only pledged 1-2% of their respective allocations, with Hungary having submitted none. Even though Hungary and Slovakia have challenged the second Council Decision before the Court of Justice of the European Union, they are still bound by the obligations rising from it, until further notice.

Even more worrying is the fact that over the course of these months, only 29 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children have been relocated. Even though the Council Decisions specify that preference should be given to vulnerable applicants, notably children, the Commission stresses that only a few Member States are willing to accept relocation transfers of unaccompanied children, and the places offered continue to be insufficient to relocate all who are eligible.

Other recurring problems highlighted in the report are the extensive security checks which slow down the system, unjustified refusals of relocation requests by EU Member States, lengthy response times and a lack of response to EASO’s call for experts. The Commission has reiterated that countries should increase their number of pledges, with a focus on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and that countries are not allowed to refuse applications unless motivated under the exclusion grounds of the Qualification Directive.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 15 July 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.