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Recommendations on a Union Resettlement Framework

Since 2009, the European Commission has been coordinating efforts in order to firmly integrate resettlement in the external dimension of the EU’s asylum policy and to improve its strategic use in the context of the Joint EU Resettlement Programme.  

The Red Cross EU Office, together with Caritas Europa, Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC Europe), International Rescue Committee (IRC), have issued joint comments and recommendations on the Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework, published on 13 July 2016. 

We acknowledge the important efforts of the European Commission in bringing forward this proposal to further strengthen and harmonise resettlement across Member States. We believe a Union Resettlement Framework that builds upon the extensive existing resettlement experience acquired in Europe in recent years has the potential to increase the quantity and quality of resettlement. However, the current proposal falls far short of this potential and requires substantial amendments in order to add value, not limitations to these efforts. We are particularly concerned that the proposed Framework is overly reactive, focusing unduly on migration control objectives, to the potential detriment of resettlement's function as a lifesaving tool and a durable solution. 


Resettlement must be regarded as complementary to, and not a replacement of, spontaneous arrivals and the right to seek asylum in Europe. We consider it essential for any Union Resettlement Framework to be an ambitious programme through which  Europe can further strengthen its humanitarian commitment to achieving protection and durable solutions for vulnerable refugees across the globe. To this end, we make the following eight recommendations: 

  1. The Framework should increase the quantity and quality of resettlement and should not merge resettlement with other legal pathways to protection
  2. The Framework should not make resettlement conditional upon third country cooperation with the EU on asylum and migration
  3. The Framework should build upon existing frameworks, experience and expertise on resettlement 
  4. EU financial support for resettlement should not be limited to priority regions but focused on global resettlement needs and identified protection situations, including protracted refugee situations 
  5. Eligibility for resettlement under the Framework should be in line with UNHCR submission categories
  6. The Framework should avoid arbitrary and disproportionate exclusion criteria
  7. The Framework should build upon and seek to improve existing procedures 
  8. The Framework should encourage and facilitate planning for reception and integration 


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