10 July 2015
UNHCR addressed a number of recommendations to Luxemburg and the Netherlands, the two countries that will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union respectively on 1 July 2015 and 1 January 2016. The UN Refugee Agency urged the two Presidencies to focus primarily on the implementation of measures foreseen under the European Migration Agenda, including the relocation of people in need of international protection from Greece and Italy, and the EU-wide resettlement project.
In particular, UNHCR stressed that the emergency relocation scheme would contribute to alleviate the pressure on Greece and Italy, as well as tackling trafficking networks and exploitation of people in need of international protection on the move towards Europe and within the continent. Furthermore, the UN Refugee Agency stated that the EU-wide resettlement project is ‘an important step’ and urged Member States to step up their resettlement pledges.
UNHCR also recommended the Presidencies to encourage Member States to use other legal avenues to allow people in need of protection to reach Europe, including humanitarian visas, work and study visas, community-based private sponsorship, and family reunification as indicated in the European Agenda on Migration. Another important point mentioned by UNHCR is to ensure that the measures on legal migration will allow refugees to access labour mobility schemes. Finally, the Agency urged the two Presidencies to address the root causes of forced displacement, as well as tackling statelessness in Europe by recommending Member States to take measures to reduce and prevent statelessness and adhere to the UN Statelessness Convention.