Archive pour la catégorie ‘Humanitarian’

2014-2020: towards an increase in funding in the areas of migration, asylum and internal security

Mardi 15 novembre 2011

The European Commission, in response to the news of the attacks in Norway and the Arab Spring, has decided to increase the funding available in the field of internal affairs and to simplify procedures for granting.

For the next Multiannual Financial Framework (period 2014-2020), the Commission is proposing an overall Home Affairs budget of €10.7 billion. This represents an increase of almost 40% compared to the total budget for the period 2007-2013.

While the amount of funding available for managing migration flows and addressing security threats will increase, the number of funds will be reduced from six to two: A new Asylum and Migration fund with an overall budget of €3,869 million and a new Internal Security fund worth €4,648 million. Simplifying the rules, speeding up the procedures and cutting red tape will ensure that results are delivered quicker on the ground.

Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs that with these proposals, we are bolstering the EU’s capacity to provide support when and where it is most needed. Adequate funding with simpler and more flexible rules is crucial to address the increasingly transnational challenges that the EU faces. We need a faster and more effective EU response to events like those we have seen in North Africa in recent months.

Background
The two Funds, proposed in today’s communication from the Commission, will provide financing opportunities for policies on asylum and migration, effective border management systems, the fight against organised crime, corruption and terrorism and many other areas:

The Asylum and Migration Fund will focus on people flows and the integrated management of migration. It will support actions addressing all aspects of migration, including asylum, legal migration, integration and the return of irregularly staying non-EU nationals. Its overall budget is set at €3,869 million.

The Internal Security Fund will support the implementation of the Internal Security Strategy (IP/10/1535 and MEMO/10/598) and the EU approach to law enforcement cooperation, including the management of the union’s external borders. It will have a global budget of €4,648 million, which will also cover the development of new IT systems, such as the future entry/exit system and the Registered Traveller Programme.

This new structure of funding will allow for a better understanding of the rules by all partners, creating economies of scale. Moreover, a flexible emergency response mechanism in the two Funds will allow the EU to react rapidly to fast evolving crisis situations, such as mixed migratory flows or terrorist attacks or cyber attacks. The two funds will replace the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals, the European Refugee Fund, the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the two specific programmes Prevention of and fight against crime (ISEC) and Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence management of Terrorism and other Security-related risks (CIPS).

The Lisbon Treaty, the Stockholm Programme and its Action Plan have defined the scope of EU action in the area of Home Affairs up until 2014. EU funding for Home Affairs policies after 2013 should look beyond this roadmap and focus on delivering results and better complementing national budgets. At the start of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020), the Commission will discuss with each participating State how home affairs funding can best be used to achieve all EU policy objectives in this area. This dialogue will ensure a focus on policy priorities and results.

These legislative proposals will now be discussed and negotiated with the European Parliament and the Council. The Funds should become operational in 2014.

Extension of the food distribution programme for the most deprived

Mardi 15 novembre 2011

A temporary compromise was reached today for the pursuit of food distribution programme for the most deprived.

On Monday, at the Council for Agriculture and Fisheries, presided over by Minister Marek Sawicki, the Polish Presidency achieved a compromise on extending the food distribution programme for the most deprived. The support of a qualified majority has been guaranteed for the programme’s temporary functioning in 2012 and 2013 in accordance with the agreed terms. The agreed draft compromise will be submitted to the next EU Council for formal approval.

Since the European Commission first presented draft changes to the programme in 2010, the proposal has on three occasions been the subject of discussion in the Council forum. Each time it was opposed by a ‘blocking minority’. Thanks to the efforts of the Polish Presidency, the proposed compromise solution should ensure the system’s practical functioning for another two years.

Some 18 million people in the European Union benefit from the programme, including four million in Poland. Next year €480 million will be designated for this purpose.

The EU allocates 4 million euros to help people affected by floods in Central America

Mercredi 2 novembre 2011

The European Commission has decided to pay 4 million euro in response to the floods that raged Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Some 100,000 of the most vulnerable people caught up in the affected areas will benefit.

Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis response said that farmers have lost their crops in the inundated fields, families have lost their homes in high water and mudslides. She added that the cost of food is rising and so is the risk of disease. The EU worries about the most exposed to hunger, poverty and extreme weather. The EU is moving to help them cope with a growing humanitarian crisis.

The funding will provide the people at risk with food and medical care, shelter, clean water and sanitation. Some of it will be invested in disaster risk reduction measures to mitigate the impact of future floods. The priorities will be implemented through the Commission humanitarian partners.

The European Commission has deployed a civil protection team to El Salvador, where the impact of the floods is greatest. The Commission will also provide additional civil protection aid in the country – the European assistance requested by the authorities will be distributed through the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

The funding decision comes in response to inspections carried out earlier this month by the Commission’s humanitarian experts in flood-hit areas of Guatemala and El Salvador.

Background
Heavy rains broke over the region on 10th October, caused by a tropical depression. The worst-hit areas are in Guatemala and El Salvador but Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama were also affected.

At least 105 people have been reported dead, with another 650,000 affected. More than 90,000 people have been evacuated and 50,000 are living in around 400 temporary shelters. Significant damage has been caused to infrastructure and agriculture. Many areas are still inaccessible and the rain continues, making it difficult to fully appraise the extent of the damage.

The European Commission has provided more than €18.5 million in Central America since last year, helping hundreds of thousands of people affected by floods, hurricanes, health threats and droughts.

EU unleashes a second operation to help the victims of the earthquake in Turkey

Lundi 31 octobre 2011

Today, the foreign minister signed an agreement to provide funds to assist earthquake victims in Turkey.

Today, at the Ministry for EU Affairs, the EU and the Turkish Red Crescent are signing a grant agreement for the supply of some 1,200 temporary housing units accommodating 6,000 persons rendered homeless after the 23 October earthquake in the Van Province.

These housing units, made of steel and fully insulated, are composed of 2 rooms, a kitchenette and a bathroom and toilet. They will be connected to electricity, water and sewage. The cost of this second operation is € 4 million, or approximately Turkish Lira 10 million.

The procurement and installation of these temporary housing units will be made by the Turkish Red Crescent, direct beneficiary of the EU grant (under the so called Instrument for Preaccession Assistance - IPA), in cooperation with the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), the Van Governorate and the Van and Erciş Municipalities.

The temporary housing units will be allocated to the families whose houses have been destroyed or are unsafe.

Background

This operation comes in addition of the supply, currently under way, of some 6,600 family tents accommodating approximately 35,000 persons. The tents are provided through grants from some 18 Member States of the European Union*, while the coordination and part of the air transport costs are provided by the European Commission through the European Civil Protection Mechanism. Most tents consignments have already been delivered to Erzurum airport. In some case, EU Member States have provided direct grant donations to the Turkish authorities.

The Commission has also deployed a European Civil Protection team of six experts to the disaster area. The team is facilitating the arrival and distribution of assistance provided through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

European aid to help flood victims in Central America

Vendredi 28 octobre 2011

Given the urgency of the situation in Central America, or tens of thousands of victims in emergency situations, the EU has provided funds to help them.

The European Commission intends to give €4 million humanitarian aid to assist people affected by floods in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Some 100,000 of the most vulnerable people caught up in the affected areas will benefit.

“Farmers have lost their crops in the inundated fields, families have lost their homes in high water and mudslides. The cost of food is rising and so is the risk of disease. We worry about the most exposed to hunger, poverty and extreme weather. We are moving to help them cope with a growing humanitarian crisis,” said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis response.

The funding will provide the people at risk with food and medical care, shelter, clean water and sanitation. Some of it will be invested in disaster risk reduction measures to mitigate the impact of future floods. The priorities will be implemented through the Commission humanitarian partners.

The European Commission has deployed a civil protection team to El Salvador, where the impact of the floods is greatest. The Commission will also provide additional civil protection aid in the country – the European assistance requested by the authorities will be distributed through the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

The funding decision comes in response to inspections carried out earlier this month by the Commission’s humanitarian experts in flood-hit areas of Guatemala and El Salvador.

Background

Heavy rains broke over the region on 10th October, caused by a tropical depression. The worst-hit areas are in Guatemala and El Salvador but Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama were also affected.

At least 105 people have been reported dead, with another 650,000 affected. More than 90,000 people have been evacuated and 50,000 are living in around 400 temporary shelters. Significant damage has been caused to infrastructure and agriculture. Many areas are still inaccessible and the rain continues, making it difficult to fully appraise the extent of the damage.

The European Commission has provided more than €18.5 million in Central America since last year, helping hundreds of thousands of people affected by floods, hurricanes, health threats and droughts.

The EU helps Turkey and its survivors after the earthquake

Jeudi 27 octobre 2011

Immediatly after the earthquake, the European Union gave its help to Turkey. Moreoever, 6 Member States have offered hundreds of tents for survivors.

The European Commission is coordinating the provision of European assistance to Turkey after the Turkish authorities requested the activation of the European Civil Protection Mechanism last night. Turkey has called on Europe to join the relief effort by providing family tents to help shelter the survivors of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Turkey on Sunday.

Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for crisis response said that the Turkish authorities, the Red Crescent and the numerous volunteers have faced a huge task and have saved and helped thousands in these days of heartbreaking loss and substantial damage. Now they have asked the EU to join their effort to care for the survivors and Europe is ready to contribute.

She added that Turkey has shown great solidarity to others when they were struggling with disasters. Now they need solidarity as well.

The Commission is also looking at further ways to support the relief effort through the Instrument for Preaccession Assistance (IPA). “We are currently looking into all options to make IPA funds available to follow up beyond the short term assistance needs,” Stefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy said.

Austria, Belgium, Slovenia, France, United Kingdom and Sweden offered over 2300 winterised tents within the first three hours of Turkey’s request. Several other countries which participate in the European Civil Protection Mechanism said they are ready to help. A team of European experts in civil protection is being deployed to facilitate the delivery of the emergency assistance on the ground.

The Commission will also take a further decision of support concerning pre-fabricated houses in the coming days.

Background

On Sunday, 23 October, an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 struck Turkey’s eastern province 17 Km North of the city of Van. A series of powerful aftershocks followed. The quake was among the strongest in Turkish history.

As of 26 October, 461 people were reported dead, 1,352 injured. More than 2,200 buildings have been damaged.

The European Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response among 31 European states (the 27 members of the European Union plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). Participating countries pool the resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. When activated, the Mechanism coordinates the provision of assistance inside and outside the European Union. The European Commission manages the Mechanism through its crisis response centre (the Monitoring and Information Centre).

Since its creation in 2001, the Mechanism has been activated for disasters in Europe (like the forest fires in Portugal, floods in the Balkans in 2010 and explosion at a naval base in Cyprus in 2011) but also worldwide, including after the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan.

The EU is mobilizing to defeat hunger in Africa

Jeudi 20 octobre 2011

European aid towards the Horn of Africa intensifies, while the famine lasted for three long months now. The total is 24 million euro from the European Commission.

The extra funding is on top of the €160 million provided by the Commission so far. It is announced three months since famine was declared by the United Nations in parts of Somalia and will provide food, water and treatment for malnourished children, as well as increasing protection and security for refugees and humanitarian aid workers at Dadaab camp in north-east Kenya.

Dadaab, which lies close to the Somali border, is the world’s largest refugee camp with a population expected to reach half a million within the next months.

More than 13 million people are currently threatened by the effects of drought in the Horn of Africa and the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva today renews her appeal for the world to continue to show solidarity and generosity towards this vulnerable population.

Background

The European Union is the largest humanitarian donor for the Horn of Africa, providing over €700 million in assistance since the beginning of the year, of which €184 million comes from the European Commission.

In Somalia, the European Commission is supporting urgent life saving operations with €62 million of funding. The focus is on food aid and urgent medical assistance. European Commission humanitarian assistance in Kenya (€43.8m), Ethiopia (€46m) and Djibouti (€2.6m) covers Somali refugees, as well as the most vulnerable local populations in drought-affected areas.

In Ethiopia five refugee camps host 130,000 Somalis and the influx of refugees into Djibouti also continues.

In Dadaab, the European Commission is already financing protection and security measures with €2.6 million from the humanitarian aid budget and will double this amount. Areas of spending include shelter for new arrivals and safe transport for Somali refugees from the border to the camps and for their registration upon arrival. The Commission has also contributed €4 million to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR for protection activities in Dadaab as part of its development policy and in the framework of a special Regional Protection Programme.

The Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is present on the ground with a regional support office in Kenya. In Ethiopia, ECHO has a field office. The ECHO experts liaise with aid organisations and monitor relief projects.

Since 2006 the Commission has given €70 million to disaster risk reduction programmes in the Horn of Africa. These programmes aim at building the resilience of local communities by helping them prepare for the impacts of recurrent drought with minimal losses. In Moyale, northern Kenya, where the Commission and its partners began mobile outreach services early enough to identify and treat children with signs of moderate malnutrition, the rates of malnutrition are low compared to neighbouring districts.

The EU is concerned about food issues in Africa

Jeudi 6 octobre 2011

Given the urgency of the situation in Africa, development aid the EU must adapt and evolve. Discover the contents of the public hearing held by the committee of development.

This article is only available in french.

What happened at the second plenary session of September

Lundi 3 octobre 2011

Last week, MEPs debated notably the tax on financial transactions and the recognition of a Palestinian state.

he introduction of an EU-wide financial transaction tax was the centrepiece of Commission President Barroso’s state of the union speech on Wednesday, in which he defended the EU as the guarantor of peace and stability in Europe. Most political groups warmly welcomed his proposals, condemning member state efforts to combat the crisis outside the EU institutional framework.

Following intense negotiations, MEPs approved the economic governance “six-pack” on stronger budgetary surveillance, which should limit the ability of member states to ignore eurozone public finance rules.

MEPs discussed the situation in the Middle East after the Palestinian Authority applied for UN membership and, thus, recognition of a Palestinian state. Some MEPs expressed support, others emphasised Israel’s desire for security and most speakers called for a resumption of peace negotiations. MEPs also approved a deal that should boost Palestinian exports of farm and fisheries products to the EU.

More than 35,000 people were killed in road accidents in the EU in 2009. “Alcolocks” on commercial goods and passenger vehicles and an EU-wide 30 km/h speed limit in residential areas, are among the 103 road safety measures proposed by the EP to halve road deaths by 2020.

Parliament revised EU rules on exports of products with both civilian and military use, such as chemicals, telecommunication devices and software. MEPs won an undertaking that no general export authorisation will be given to “dual-use” technologies that can be used to violate human rights.

EU-financed food aid to more than 13 million poor Europeans has run into trouble after the European Court of Justice declared the current mode of operation illegal. The Commission has had to cut projected spending for 2012 to €113.5 million from the €480 million originally planned. MEPs urged Council and Commission to act and criticised six member states for blocking efforts at a compromise.

Homosexuality, bisexuality and trans-sexuality are still seen by some as a mental illness. In a resolution, MEP’s called for an end to the discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity suffered by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

MEPs expressed concern at the rising tensions between Turkey and Cyprus in a dispute over oil and gas exploration. They condemned Turkey’s threats and stressed that a threat against one member state is a threat against the whole EU.

There was a lively debate Thursday morning over the technical parameters of body scanners at airports in the EU. MEPs are concerned they might reveal too much.

MEP voted on a resolution setting out a common EU position for next year’s UN Rio +20 summit. MEPs want a strong and unified EU approach for the sustainable development summit next June.

EU response to the Arab Spring: new package of support for North Africa and Middle East

Mardi 27 septembre 2011

Democracy, growth, job creation, microfinance and higher education in North Africa and the Middle East will be supported by the European Commission after the adoption of four new decisions.

“The European Union was the first to offer a serious response to the Arab Spring. This new set of decisions is the result of the new and ambitious European Neighbourhood Policy launched in May and it confirms that the EU has made it one of its main priorities to support ‘deep’ and sustainable democracy, but also economic recovery, in North Africa and the Middle East,” said Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission.

Štefan Füle Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy added: “These decisions prove our strong commitment to our neighbouring partners. Through job creation, improved living conditions, university partnerships and promoting a stronger voice for civil society, this support demonstrates Europe’s full engagement in ensuring the desired transition to democracy in the region.”

Today, the SPRING programme (Support for Partnership, Reform and Inclusive Growth) was adopted. Under this flagship initiative, the Commission will provide support for the Southern Neighbourhood countries for democratic transformation, institution building and economic growth in the wake of the Arab Spring. Support provided through SPRING will be tailored to the needs of each country. The total value of this initiative is €350 million to cover the years 2011 and 2012.

The second decision concerns a Special Measure designed to support poorer areas in Tunisia in the aftermath of the events of the Arab Spring. €20 million has also been allocated in order to foster employment and job creation in the country and to improve living conditions for inhabitants of urban areas in the most impoverished regions, as well as to improve access to microfinance.

The third of these decisions, adopted on 23 September 2011, is the Erasmus Mundus programme. This will go towards achieving better understanding and mutual enrichment between the EU and neighbouring countries by creating possibilities for student and academic staff mobility (for example, the opportunity to study in universities in EU Member States) and exchange of knowledge and skills. The overall budget for this programme is €66 million.

The fourth decision, adopted on 20 September 2011, is the Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility, designed to strengthen the capacity of civil society to promote reform and increase public accountability in their countries. With a total budget of €22 million, the programme will also support regional and country projects led by non-state actors. Similar amounts are envisaged for 2012 and 2013.

The four decisions come in response to actions outlined in the Commission’s recent Communication entitled “A new response to a changing Neighbourhood”.