News comment from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, on the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU on the relocation scheme*
“Today’s decision by the Court of Justice of the EU on the relocation scheme sends a very strong signal on the importance of solidarity and responsibility sharing among EU Member States.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has been continuously advocating for a prompt implementation of the EU relocation scheme. We are encouraged by the emphasis in the Court’s ruling on the need to support Member States under pressure while facilitating access to protection for asylum-seekers.
As we now enter the final phase of the relocation scheme, UNHCR urges Member States to increase the pace of relocation for eligible asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece, and to fully meet their relocation commitments as a concrete gesture of solidarity towards countries of first arrival in the EU.
As the relocation scheme is coming to an end, the need for a robust asylum system in the EU is even more pressing. This is required to ensure access to territory and to properly allocate responsibility for asylum-seekers among Member States, also in exceptional circumstances. UNHCR also urges more solidarity at the global level.”
* The EU relocation scheme was set up following two decisions by the Council of the European Union in September 2015 which outlined the transfer of 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU Member States.