Speech by Commissioner Avramopoulos at the High-level side event on the Global Compact on Refugees - A Model for Greater Solidarity and Cooperation organised by UNHCR, New York 24/9/2018

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24 Sep 2018
  • Αβραμόπουλος Avramopoulos
  • Αβραμόπουλος Avramopoulos

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to be here today two years after the summit on the large movements of refugees and migrants.

This summit has been a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the challenges of human mobility, globally.

While there were 2.2 million refugees more in 2017 than in 2016, the agreement reached on the global compact on refugees offers new perspectives and opportunities to assist them.

I would like to commend UNHCR, for its leadership to build a broad consensus on this global compact.

The European Union has been actively engaged in the entire process.

I would like to reiterate today the support of the European Union for the Global compact on refugees and our commitment to be fully engaged in its implementation.

As we all know, more than words, we need real and concrete actions.

In this context, the European Union hosted by the end of 2017, 3 million of the world's 20 million refugees and asylum seekers of concern to UNHCR.

We strive to provide a high-quality asylum space: fast processing of asylum applications and assessment of vulnerabilities, inclusion, early access to education and promotion of employment are crucial for us.

To this end, a significant part of the 7.3 billion EUR mobilised at EU level for the period 2014-2020 for the management of migration is dedicated to asylum. 

We will continue in the future.  Despite our efforts, this has been, and still is, a challenge, especially politically.

I would therefore like to express my sincere appreciation for the tremendous efforts of the many countries generously hosting so many refugees.

I assure you that we will continue to work together with our Member States to ensure that genuine refugees will receive the assistance they need in Europe.

At the same time, developing orderly legal pathways for persons in need of protection towards Europe is also an indispensable element of our balanced and comprehensive asylum policy.

Since 2015, two successful EU resettlement programmes have helped over 25,000 of the most vulnerable find shelter in the EU.

Almost all EU countries are now participating in this resettlement scheme.

In September 2017, in response to the call of the Commission, Member States made the largest collective commitment on resettlement that the EU has ever seen: more than 50,000 resettlement places pledged over a period of 2 years.

So far 13,200 persons have actually been resettled already, and I have urged Member States to fully implement their pledges by October next year.

In parallel, we are working on a structural EU resettlement framework, which I hope can be agreed soon.

Last but not least, the European Union is also cooperating with many countries present here today to provide assistance on the ground to the refugees they host.

Indeed, the European Union is the world's leading donor of humanitarian assistance in all major displacement situations. 

In 2017, more than 2 billion euros was provided to projects helping the forcibly displaced and their host communities in 49 countries.

In 2017, the European Union provided around 600 million EUR of non-humanitarian assistance, for the world’s most important host countries and to support their self-resilience.

We are doing it because we are convinced that socio-economic inclusion of refugees will lead to better outcomes  for both refugees and their host societies.

We are also already putting in practice the humanitarian-development nexus approach in a number of pilot projects in countries like Uganda and Lebanon.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate our support to the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees which is an important milestone to foster responsibility sharing in the assistance to refugees globally.

We hope that the Compact will consolidate a new way of working between all actors.

Thank you for your attention.

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