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UNHCR issues recommendations for EU to make 2020 year of change for refugee protection

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UNHCR issues recommendations for EU to make 2020 year of change for refugee protection

9 January 2020
Germany. Somali asylum-seeker joins local fire brigade
While he waits for his asylum claim to be processed, Somali refugee Yusuf volunteers as a firefighter in the town of Fürstenwalde, Germany. File image from October 2017.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has launched a set of ambitious but achievable Recommendations for the 2020 Croatian and German Presidencies of the Council of the European Union (EU). The Presidencies and the envisaged EU Pact on Migration and Asylum present unique opportunities to better protect forcibly displaced and stateless people in Europe and abroad, while supporting host countries.

“As we enter a new decade, and following the success of the Global Refugee Forum, the EU under its Presidencies has the chance to make 2020 the year of change for robust refugee protection,” said Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, UNHCR’s Regional Representative for EU Affairs.

UNHCR’s Recommendations propose a truly common and workable asylum system within the EU through sustainable reform and revitalized financial support for countries hosting forcibly displaced people outside the EU. 

Inside the EU, fair and fast asylum procedures need to be established to quickly determine who needs international protection and who does not. People eligible for protection should quickly be granted status and receive support for integration. Those not eligible to any form of protection should be assisted in their return.

Responsibility-sharing with EU Member States receiving a disproportionate number of asylum claims is also needed to ensure a truly common and workable asylum system. UNHCR is encouraging the Presidencies to advance work on an effective solidarity mechanism, including through relocation arrangements, with family unity prioritized.

“The last decade was one of displacement. This decade can be, indeed has to be, one of solutions, starting right now in 2020,” said Vargas Llosa. “By supporting large refugee hosting countries outside Europe, the EU can also help refugees thrive and not just survive.”

With 85 percent of the world’s refugees hosted in neighbouring and developing countries, revitalized financial support is also needed. UNHCR is calling on the Presidencies to ensure increased and diversified funding, including for development cooperation funding, to further support host countries and help forcibly displaced people rebuild their lives. The next EU budget (Multi-annual Financial Framework 2021-2027) is a key opportunity for the EU to demonstrate global solidarity towards forcibly displaced people and their hosts.

UNHCR remains ready to support the Croatian and German Presidencies, the EU, and its Member States as they work to enhance solidarity with refugees and the countries hosting them in the EU and globally.

Read UNHCR’s full Recommendations for the Croatian and German Presidencies of the Council of the European Union here.


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