Pilot Project for Intra-EU re-allocation from Malta
The main objective of this project was to implement the principle of solidarity between Member States by way of
follow-up to the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum. The European Council Conclusions of June 2009, had called for the coordination of voluntary measures for internal reallocation of beneficiaries of international protection present in the Member States exposed to specific and disproportionate pressures … starting with a pilot project for Malta…
This pilot project targeted a total of 255 beneficiaries of international protection hosted in Malta. France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom joined the initiative to re-allocate beneficiaries with a view to integrating them in their respective societies.
The Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs (MJHA), Agency for Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS), IOM, UNHCR and Malta’s Emigrants Commission provided necessary support in Malta (Local Partners).
The Local Partners formed a Selection Committee that prepared dossiers of beneficiaries of international protection to be considered for intra-EU reallocation. UNHCR undertook a pre-screening process on the basis of information available on potential candidates. Persons selected were counselled by UNHCR, in preparation for the next step. In all, circa 755 persons were approached of which 709 were counselled. Some 482 were finally submitted for Member States’ consideration.
Participating Member States, following a mission in Malta, selected the persons to be reallocated on the basis of an analysis of the dossiers prepared and by means of interviews with a sample group or all of the beneficiaries of international protection identified for relocation (according to the preferences and criteria set by the respective Member State).
In collaboration with representatives from Member States, the International Organisation for Migration:
Organised cultural orientation sessions to prepare the persons selected for their departure to the host country;
Undertook the necessary pre-travel medical examinations,;
Organised travel arrangements.
The project provided financial support to the host countries to provide integration programmes for up to one year. This covered accommodation expenses, language training and other aspects to ensure successful integration.
The EUREMA final conference brought together Member States who have helped Malta in sharing responsibility with regard to beneficiaries of international protection, as well as other partners, stakeholders and interested parties. The conference aimed at presenting the project’s results and the lessons learned – through a practical handbook prepared by IOM – to be used as reference for future similar endeavours.
The project was intended to contribute to reducing the disproportionate pressures that Malta has to carry in hosting such large numbers of beneficiaries of protection. This burden sharing exercise will be measured with due consideration to the actual reception of the persons concerned in the host Member States as well as by its effectiveness to provide durable solutions to such beneficiaries.
The project is co-financed by the European Union, under the European Refugee Fund Community Actions 2009 call. The project cost some €1.39 million, receiving €1.099 million from the European Union. Most of the project’s expenditure (€1.13 million) was aimed at covering integration-related costs.
The Pilot Project is expected to pave the way for a relocation mechanism utilised by the different Member States. The extension of the Pilot Project will form part of a new project called EUREMA II
Photo credits: IOM; MJHA; SEF-Portugal; AFM