European Commission: fairer distribution among Member States of Mediterranean asylum seekers

Ministry of the Interior 12.6.2015 16.41
News item

Italy and Greece are currently confronted with an exceptional migratory pressure, which has caused an emergency situation in the EU. For the first time, the European Commission has proposed triggering the emergency response system under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It can be used, for example when Member States are confronted by an emergency situation characterised by a sudden inflow of third country nationals.

Last year, 64,625 asylum seekers arrived in Italy and 9,430 in Greece. In 2014, more than 170,000 third country nationals arrived in Italy illegally and over 50,000 in Greece.

The European Commission proposes that asylum seekers arriving in Italy and Greece be distributed more evenly among Member States and relocated to other Member States according to certain distribution criteria. The Programme of the Finnish Government states that relocation of asylum seekers within the EU should be based on the voluntary participation of Member States. This is still Finland's strong political will.

Finland considers that the situation in the Mediterranean may, however, lead to a situation where EU Member States must show solidarity with each other and use the emergency response mechanism. Finland is prepared to discuss the Commission proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece.

Temporary arrangement for two years

The Commission proposal for a decision on relocation concerns a total of 40,000 people who will lodge an application for asylum in Italy or Greece during the next two years. The provisional measures would in practice be applied to Syrians and Eritreans in need of international protection who have arrived in Italy or Greece after 15 April 2015 or who will arrive in these countries after the mechanism is launched.

Persons would be distributed among Member States according to a distribution key based on the size of the population, GDP, the number of asylum applications and resettled refugees and the unemployment rate. According to the current calculations, the total number of persons to be relocated to Finland would be 800 during those two years.

The Commission proposal includes, however, a number of open questions which need to be answered in future negotiations. Before the Commission proposal for relocation of asylum seekers can be adopted, Member States will have to take a decision on the proposal by qualified majority. This matter will be discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 15–16 June and at the European Council meeting on 25–26 June.

Inquiries:
Jorma Vuorio
, Director General, tel. +358 295 418 860