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2015 UNHCR subregional operations profile - Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe

| Overview |

UNHCR 2015 Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe subregional operations map

The number of asylum applications received in 2014 in European Union (EU) Member States has risen by 25 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. A quarter of the applicants are of Afghan, Eritrean or Syrian origin, and a similar proportion are under 18 years of age. There have also been many more asylum applications from stateless people, with an estimated total of 436,000 people across the European Union. Germany continues to be the recipient of the largest number of asylum applications, followed by France, Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom.

In the first seven months of 2014, more than 87,000 people arrived in Italy by sea, mainly from Eritrea and the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria). In an effort to reduce the risks linked to such journeys, in October 2013 the Italian Government launched the Mare Nostrum operation, which has rescued more than 100,000 people. Greece and Spain also recorded an increase in arrivals.

The economic situation in the region has had an impact on the capacity and readiness of many countries to strengthen their protection systems. Austerity measures have also hit civil-society organizations that provide services to asylum-seekers and refugees. Xenophobia and intolerance have led to incidents of discrimination and violence. States have responded by concentrating on curbing irregular movements, including through tighter border controls and detention, or penalization for illegal entry.

UNHCR will build on international and regional law and policy to support States' efforts to find durable solutions for unaccompanied and separated children, who have been arriving in the subregion in large numbers.

The Office continues to be particularly concerned about reports that some EU countries are placing barriers to entry or forcibly returning asylum-seekers and refugees.

In April 2014, the European Union adopted the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, representing a commitment of over EUR 3 billion for the next seven years (2014-2020). A major portion of this fund will be allocated to Member States' national programmes to complement their own domestic budgets, which should help improve asylum systems, reception modalities, and integration policies.

In this context, UNHCR's work in the subregion will also focus on:

  • Assisting and supporting governments to build and maintain fair and efficient asylum and protection systems;

  • Ensuring border management is more protection-sensitive. The Office will promote alternatives to detention. It will also advocate for reception conditions that meet minimum international standards;

  • Promoting responsibility-sharing among EU Member States, complementing the efforts of the European Commission and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO);

  • Promoting community participation and preventing and responding to incidents of sexual and gender-based violence(SGBV);

  • Advocating for more resettlement places and enhancing integration capacity in resettlement countries;

  • Urging States to accede to the 1954 and 1961 UN Statelessness Conventions, improving mechanisms to identify and protect stateless people and preventing and resolving situations of statelessness; and

  • Supporting EU policy-making processes related to people of concern and mobilizing regional political and financial support for UNHCR's work worldwide.

| Response and implementation |

Asylum and protection

In 2015, one of UNHCR's priorities will be to ensure the safeguarding of asylum space. To prevent deaths at sea, the organization will work with European States towards more concerted action. These efforts will be guided by its Central Mediterranean Sea Initiative (CMSI), which includes measures not only within the European Union, but also in transit or first asylum countries, and in countries of origin. The CMSI seeks to strengthen cooperation with relevant stakeholders. Admission practices will be monitored and the capacity of immigration and coast guard officials built, to help prevent refoulement and ensure that those in need of international protection can access territory.

UNHCR offices in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom will follow up on measures in respect of the Response to Vulnerability project. Standard operating procedures will be instituted in reception centres to respond to incidents of SGBV.

The Office will pursue efforts to build and maintain an effective asylum and protection system. Since 2013, UNHCR and the Government of Albania have worked in close collaboration to ensure the safe arrival of more than 240 former residents of the Hurriya temporary transit location (ex-Ashraf) in Iraq who are in need of international protection, and will continue working on durable solutions for this refugee group.

UNHCR will also work to assure reception conditions and procedures that are adequate for responding to asylum-seekers' specific needs and maintaining their dignity. UNHCR and UNICEF are developing guidance on how States can ensure respect for the best interests of unaccompanied children in Europe.

In line with the organization's global Beyond Detention strategy, rolled out in Hungary, Lithuania, Malta and the United Kingdom, the Office will promote alternatives to detention, as well as the release of children held and improvements in detention conditions.

Monitoring and reporting on national practices will help identify gaps and good practice. The follow-up study to Beyond Proof, which assesses credibility in claims lodged by unaccompanied children, will be completed in 2014 and will require implementation in 2015.

Having analysed the reasons for their movements, UNHCR has started developing a more comprehensive protection strategy for Afghans.

Comments on legislation in the context of the transposition of the asylum acquis, comparative analyses and judicial engagement, will allow UNHCR to contribute to the setting of national and regional legal standards. It will implement quality audit mechanisms and participate in some national asylum procedures, such as those in France, Italy and Spain.

UNHCR will continue to complement EASO's efforts to improve practical cooperation among EU Member States in building asylum systems and improving the quality of country-of-origin information.

The Office will pursue its efforts to identify cases for judicial engagement with national and European courts. It will continue to support the conference of refugee law judges in Germany. Judicial engagement and court interventions will permit UNHCR to ensure the correct application of relevant laws in refugee cases.

UNHCR works closely with civil-society organizations and others involved in refugee protection. Innovative approaches include high-visibility campaigns in public spaces and transport. In 2015, particular attention will be paid to improving social media communication.

Durable solutions

Despite 22 out of 36 countries contributing to UNHCR's resettlement efforts in some capacity, the number of resettlement places for the region remain limited. Special attention will be devoted to resettlement and humanitarian admission of Syrian refugees, and the Office will continue managing the Emergency Transit Centres in Timisoara (Romania) and Humenné (Slovakia).

In order to enhance reception and integration capacities and improve refugees' local integration prospects, the Office will work to raise awareness of the integration challenges facing 1.6 million refugees in the region and to promote good practice in labour market integration, housing and the building of social and professional networks.

Statelessness

UNHCR has launched a 10-year campaign to end statelessness, and will advocate for more EU Member States to accede to the 1954 and 1961 UN Statelessness Conventions. The organization will encourage and support States to adopt national action plans to address statelessness, conduct public awareness activities and advocate for a formal identification and protection mechanism for stateless people be established in countries that lack one.

The Office will continue to advocate for law reform preventing statelessness at birth or later in life, and the facilitation of naturalization. Cooperation with the European Network on Statelessness will continue.

| Financial information |

The budget for the subregion has increased significantly in the past years, from USD 51.1 million in 2011 to USD 68.1 million in 2015, primarily owing to the impact of the Syria Situation and asylum-seekers arriving by boat to the shores of Southern Europe.

The budget for the subregion will however be reduced during the course of 2015 as the operation in Albania will move to South-Eastern Europe within the context of UNHCR's regionalization process in the western Balkans.

Approximately 94 per cent of the 2015 budget is allocated to refugee programmes, with the remaining 6 per cent for statelessness activities.

UNHCR 2015 budgets for Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe (USD)
Operation 2014
Revised budget
(as of 30 June 2014)
2015
Refugee
programme
PILLAR 1
Stateless
programme
PILLAR 2
Reintegration
projects
PILLAR 3
Total
Total 68,075,927 62,431,037 4,479,646 1,191,163 68,101,847
1. Includes activities in Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Liaison Office in Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
2. Includes activities in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and as from 2015, also Croatia.
3. Includes activities in Albania, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Spain.
4. Includes activities in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway.
Belgium Regional Office[1] 14,521,916 14,603,538 1,431,980 0 16,035,518
Hungary Regional Office[2] 17,069,083 11,993,641 1,702,007 1,191,163 14,886,811
Italy Regional Office[3] 24,976,188 22,677,175 223,092 0 22,900,267
Sweden Regional Office[4] 5,538,754 4,518,289 965,440 0 5,483,728
Regional Activities 5,969,986 8,638,394 157,127 0 8,795,521

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2015 Update


UNHCR contact information

UNHCR Regional Office for the Baltic and Nordic Countries
Style of Address Regional Representation for Northern Europe
Street Address Ynglingagatan 14, 6th Floor, 11347 Stockholm, Sweden
Mailing Address Ynglingagatan 14, 6th Floor, 11347 Stockholm, Sweden
Telephone 46 8 457 4880
Facsimile 46 8 457 4887
Website http://www.unhcr-northerneurope.org
Email swest@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 1
Working Hours
Monday:09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday:09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday:09:00 - 17:00
Thursday:09:00 - 17:00
Friday:09:00 - 17:00
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New Year's day
18 April 2014, Good Friday
21 April 2014, Easter Monday
28 July 2014, Eid El Fitr
03 October 2014, Eid El Adha
31 October 2014, All Saints (observed)
24 December 2014, Christmas Eve
25 December 2014, Christmas Day
26 December 2014, Boxing Day
31 December 2014, New year's day
Comments Countries covered: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden
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Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Sweden [1]
Refugees [2] 114,175
Asylum Seekers [3] 27,724
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 20,450
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 162,349
Originating from Sweden [1]
Refugees [2] 17
Asylum Seekers [3] 9
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 26
Government Contributions to UNHCR
2013 Contributions Breakdown
Total contribution in USD: 128,910,259 [rank: 5]
Total contribution in currency: 850,769,024 (SEK); 1,201,754 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 87,590,144 [rank: 1]
Donor ranking per GDP: 3
Donor ranking per capita: 5
2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2000
YearUSD
2014
More info133,515,768
As at 8 December 2014
2013
More info128,910,259
Total contribution in USD: 128,910,259 [rank: 5]
Total contribution in currency: 850,769,024 (SEK); 1,201,754 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 87,590,144 [rank: 1]
Donor ranking per GDP: 3
Donor ranking per capita: 5
2012
More info118,301,246
Total contribution in USD: 118,301,246 [rank: 4]
Total contribution in currency: 812,230,976 (SEK); 1,404,167 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 81,464,332 [rank: 1]
Donor ranking per GDP: 1
Donor ranking per capita: 3
2011
More info118,674,212
Total contribution in USD: 118,674,212 [rank: 5]
Total contribution in currency: 797,397,012 SEK; 854,812 USD
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 82,165,791 [rank: 2]
Donor ranking per GDP: 1
Donor ranking per capita: 3
2010
More info111,937,438
Total contribution in USD: 111,937,438 (rank: 4)
Total contribution in currency: 800,847,382 SEK; 801,365 USD
Unrestricted contribution (USD): --
Donor ranking per GDP: 1
Donor ranking per capita: 3
2009
More info107,885,397
Total contribution in USD: 107,885,397 (rank: 4)
Total contribution in currency: 817,466,849 SEK; 756,100 USD
Unrestricted contribution (USD): -
Donor ranking per GDP: 1
Donor ranking per capita: 4
2008
More info105,366,742
Total contribution in USD: 105,366,742 (rank: 4)
Total contribution in currency: 682,500,000 (SEK); 711,336 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): -
Donor ranking per GDP: 1
Donor ranking per capita: 3
2007
More info85,166,468
Total contribution in USD: 85,166,468 (rank: 3)
Total contribution in currency: 573,439,610 (SEK); 1,455,253 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): -
Donor ranking per GDP: 2
Donor ranking per capita: 5
2006
More info68,059,734
Total contribution in USD: 68,059,734 (rank: 4)
Total contribution in currency: 528,000,000 (SEK); 1,476,031 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 1,131,910 (rank: 20)
Donor ranking per GDP: 3
Donor ranking per capita: 5
2005
More info85,199,111
USD 85,199,111 of which 80,748,221 from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs were earmarked in dialogue between Sweden and UNHCR as follows: USD 15,431,165 (18%) at the regional level, USD 54,919,249 (64%) at the subregional level, USD 13,207,830 (16%) at the country level and USD 1,640,868 (2%) for JPOs.
2004
More info60,835,788
USD 60,835,788 of which USD 59,065,934 from MFA was allocated in dialogue between Sweden and UNHCR
2003
More info53,388,920
USD 53,388,920, in consultation with the Government of Sweden, UNHCR made the following allocations:
USD 9,350,057 (18%) at the regional level, USD 37,438,791 (70%) at the subregional level, USD 6,018,226 (11%) at the country level and USD 581,847 (1%) at the sectoral level.
2002
More info42,457,288
USD 42,457,288 allocated in dialogue between Sweden and UNHCR as follows:
USD 5,743,661 at the regional level (14%), USD 35,181,139 at the sub-regional level (82%), USD 880,594 at the country level (2%) and USD 651,894 at the sectoral level (2%).
200141,584,542
2000
More info41,949,030
USD 41,949,030 of which 100% unrestricted.
Private Sector Contributions to UNHCR
Private sector fund raising 2013

Total contribution in USD: 5,154,167
Total contribution in currency: 30 (EUR); 530 (GBP); 32,465,111 (SEK); 181,512 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
UNHCR Insamlingstiftelse2,724,304
Swedish Postcode Lottery1,747,377
Stichting af Jochnick Foundation500,000
Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget40,518

2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2006
YearUSD
2014
More info 6,659,890
As at 8 December 2014
2013
More info 5,154,167

Total contribution in USD: 5,154,167
Total contribution in currency: 30 (EUR); 530 (GBP); 32,465,111 (SEK); 181,512 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
UNHCR Insamlingstiftelse2,724,304
Swedish Postcode Lottery1,747,377
Stichting af Jochnick Foundation500,000
Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget40,518
2012
More info 1,670,437

Total contribution in USD: 1,670,437
Total contribution in currency: 850 (EUR); 11,039,105 (SEK); 1,952 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
Swedish Postcode Lottery1,364,670
2011
More info 871,415

Total contribution in USD: 871,415
Total contribution in currency: 3,998,832 (SEK); 250,815 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
Swedish Postcode Lottery (SPL)320,137
Lions Club International266,786
Water for All / Atlas Copco103,441
Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget60,924
2010
More info 1,144,558

Total contribution in USD: 1,144,558
Total contribution in currency: 500 DKK; 715 EUR; 8,000,629 SEK; 75,577 USD
Major donorsUSD
Swedish Postcode Lottery932,727
Universal Telecom145,943
Lions Club International Sweden72,971
2009 573,791
2008 516,882
2007 291,005
2006 17,427

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