I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia[*], Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Ukraine align themselves with this statement.
The EU and its Member States would like to highlight its contribution to comprehensive refugee responses, both in Europe and in other regions. Based on the EU’s experience, responding to refugee crises, requires regional solidarity arrangements with a broad range of legal, political, and financial aspects.
In line with the European Agenda on Migration we stepped up our dialogue and political engagement to seek solutions to refugee crises and their root causes. Through continued significant humanitarian and development funding to countries affected by displacement crises we collectively demonstrated European solidarity, for example, via the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey and the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.
We have considerably improved the coordination of refugee responses at EU level. For example, at the onset of the European refugee situation in 2015, the EU has helped to coordinate in-kind assistance to Greece (and previously Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary) through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UPCM). Also, the EU adopted the Emergency Support Instrument to support refugee response in Greece and provided humanitarian assistance to countries in Western Balkans.
The EU and its Member States demonstrated that temporary and durable solutions can be activated when a Member State is disproportionately affected by a refugee situation as host / transit country. Indeed, we contributed to alleviating the pressure on Greece and Italy, through the provision of emergency assistance, the relocation scheme and the deployment of EASO’s technical support.
The EU and its Member States continue efforts to reform the Common European Asylum System, aimed at sharing responsibility, demonstrating solidarity, bolstering resilience to future crises and ensuring protection is provided to those in need. In 2016 the EU adopted a new development-oriented approach to forced displacement and protracted crises, with a focus on reducing aid-dependence and fostering self-reliance.
Our collaboration with IGAD is a living example of our support to regional refugee responses elsewhere. In line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, we stand ready to further share our experience with other regional organizations throughout the consultations leading to the adoption of a Global Compact on Refugees.
Thank you, Mr./Ms. Chairperson.
[*] The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.