EMN Bulletin (January - March 2021)
The 34th edition of the EMN Bulletin covers the period January to March 2021 and provides an overview of the latest developments in the areas of international protection and migration in the EU and its Member States. In March 2021, Moldova and Georgia joined EMN as observers.
From January to March 2021, there were on the EU level - amongst others - developments in the areas of Integration, the EU strategy on the Right of the Child and the EU Social Fund Plus.
On Member State level there were several general policy developments, developments with regard to unaccompanied minors and vulnerable groups and, finally, with regard to human trafficking. Additionally, Eurostat published fresh statistics, including on applications for international protection and reception centers. Finally, the Bulletin contains numbers regarding relocation within the EU, border management and irregular migration, and return and reintegration.
On the one hand, on the EU level:
- In January, the Commission’s Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027 was presented to the EP's LIBE Committee;
- A new partnership on the integration of migrants between the EU Commission and the Committee of the Regions was launched to increase cooperation between these institutions and to provide support to EU cities, regions and rural areas;
- The European Parliament and the Council have agreed on a temporary agreement on the EU Social Fund Plus (ESF+ 2021-2027), merging the ESF with several funds such as the Youth Employment Initiative, the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, and the Employment and Social Innovation programme. With the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the ESF+ will be one of the main instruments financing the inclusion of migrants and refugees in Europe, focusing on access to employment.
- In March 2021, the first comprehensive EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child was adopted to improve the rights of children both within the EU and across the world.
On the other hand, on Member State level:
- Belgium: On 22 March 2021, a new website was launched, which provides information on the asylum process in Belgium.
- Statistics: According to Eurostat, in the fourth quarter of 2020, the number of first-time asylum applicants in the EU-27 decreased by 5 % compared with the previous quarter, and 38 % compared with the same quarter in 2019.
- Legislative changes: in Italy, a decree-law was adopted on the new format for the authorisation of residence of third-country nationals, while Lithuania amended the Law on Citizenship.
- Legal migration: According to an Austrian labour market analysis, migrants were more severely affected by unemployment (+2.6 percentage points) in 2020. Moreover, migrants could not access many in-person services usually available to them (e.g. education, legal support, employment).
- Return: Around 147 Georgians were repatriated from different EU Member States. As of 16 March, migrants returning to Georgia can benefit from a number of services within the new 2021 State Reintegration Program.
- Human trafficking: Poland and Portugal launched anti-trafficking campaigns as well as training programmes. The Netherlands' National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings published the Human Trafficking Offenders Monitoring Report 2015-2019.
More developments and other information can be found in the Bulletin (document above).