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Resettlement of refugees: 11 Member States insist on using resettlement as "a tool for migration management and cooperation with third countries"
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11 Member States are insistent on the need for a new scheme on the resettlement of refugees into the EU to be used as an instrument for trying to ensure that 'third countries' cooperate with EU policies on migration.
Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Greece, Malta, Austria and Ireland have "[stressed] the need to retain in the text the idea that resettlement is a tool for migration management and cooperation with third countries," according to a note distributed by COREPER (the Committee of Permanent Representatives, made up of Member States' head officials in Brussels) in response to a Bulgarian Council Presidency note drafted at the beginning of this month.
This is diametrically opposed to the Parliament's position, as highlighted in the note:
"The Parliament maintained, however, its position that resettlement is not a migration control tool and cannot be used as a means to achieve the Union's foreign policy objectives."
See the Bulgarian Council Presidency note: Proposal for a Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No 516/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council (First reading) (LIMITE doc no: 9596-18, 4 June 2018, pdf)
Below the full text of the note from COREPER drafted in response.
Resettlement Framework Regulation - State of play and guidance for further work
Despite some Member States expressing words of caution, the Presidency received sufficient support for its proposed approach aiming at finalising the negotiations with the European Parliament on the basis of an overall package. The European Parliament would be ready to accept points that are important for the Council such as the voluntary nature of the framework, or the inclusion of humanitarian admission in the resettlement framework. The Parliament maintained, however, its position that resettlement is not a migration control tool and cannot be used as a means to achieve the Union's foreign policy objectives. Member States afforded the Presidency some flexibility aiming at finding language that will remain in the text, at minimum, the importance of cooperation with third countries and the use of resettlement for preventing irregular movements. The Presidency intends to inform Member States on the outcome of the next trilogue during the Coreper meeting on 20 June.
The Commission expressed full support for the Presidency's approach as well as readiness to assist in finding acceptable language that will facilitate an agreement to be reached on the file under the Bulgarian Presidency.
In the ensuring debate, SE, DE, CZ, RO, HR, IT, PL, EL, MT, AT and IE supported the Presidency's approach while stressing the need to retain in the text the idea that resettlement is a tool for migration management and cooperation with third countries. SK and FI expressed readiness to give limited flexibility to the Presidency but cautioned against diluting the text too much. PT, SK and FR also expressed readiness to support the Presidency but stressed that they would have preferred to do so on the basis of a concrete text. FR, together with NL and BE, was more cautious, stressing that we should take the time to ensure a good compromise instead of rushing for the sake of reaching an early agreement. CZ, RO, PL, SK, HU and IE underlined the need to preserve the voluntary nature of the framework. PT, NL, FR, FI, SK and AT reiterated that they would prefer to maintain in article 6 the provision that the lack of a realistic prospect of integration can constitute grounds for refusal. The Presidency maintained its position that this issue was sufficiently addressed in article 10. PL and CZ recalled the link between this file and the other asylum proposals and stressed the need to preserve the package approach.
The European Commission's proposal for a Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework (COM(2016) 468 final, 13 July 2016, pdf)
Parliament's position for negotiations with the Council (voted on in the civil liberties committee, LIBE): Report on the proposal for a regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework (23 October 2017)
Council discussion of the text including positions: 5332/17 (22 February 2017) and 11955/17 (8 September 2017)
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