Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe
Operational information on the Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe subregion is presented below. A summary of this can also be downloaded in PDF format. This subregion covers the following countries:
Latest update of camps and office locations 21 Nov 2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.
Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe
People of Concern - 2016[["Refugees",2006154],["Refugee-like situation",24943],["Asylum-seekers",1137485],["Stateless",413932],["Others of concern",6045]]
Response in 2016In 2016, states in the Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe subregion received some 1.2 million new asylum applications, a 9 per cent increase compared to 2015. Over 99 per cent of these applications were lodged in European Union Member States, notably in Germany (722,270) and Italy (121,755). Asylum applicants in 2016 mainly originated from the Syrian Arab Republic (332,665), Afghanistan (183,780) and Iraq (126,630). In 2016, almost 362,480 arrivals in Europe by sea were recorded, mostly in Italy (181,000) and Greece (173,450). Some 100,260 children arrived in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Spain, of whom 34 per cent were unaccompanied and separated children (UASC). More than 5,000 people died or were reported missing in the Mediterranean Sea in 2016.
UNHCR’ priorities were to safeguard asylum space, ensure access to territory and acceptable reception conditions; support authorities with registration, provide assistance, build and maintain effective and fair asylum procedures; prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), secure durable solutions; and prevent and resolve statelessness.
Ensuring protection of UASC, as well as providing support to national authorities for the identification and appropriate assistance to other people with specific needs remained a key priority. UNHCR also advocated for an expansion of resettlement programmes and the introduction of other complementary pathways for people of concern.
OperationsIn 2016 UNHCR continued to respond to the refugee situation in Europe, strengthening cooperation with Governments, European Union institutions and agencies, non-governmental organizations and civil society. The overall response focused on a more static population while acknowledging that people were still moving onwards in a clandestine manner.
In Central Europe, following the de facto closure of the Western Balkans route in March 2016, UNHCR refocused its efforts to strengthen protection monitoring and related advocacy, while significantly reducing aid delivery in Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia. UNHCR also stepped up its communication and advocacy to counter xenophobic sentiments that increased across Central Europe in 2016, which, combined with increasing legislative and practical restrictions to access territory and asylum across the region, including push backs in a number of border areas. The Office focused on ensuring that refugees have access to territory and fair asylum procedures but protection shortcomings remained prevalent in most countries of the region. Despite these challenges, some modest achievements were obtained. A number of successful interventions were carried out on behalf of children and other individuals with specific needs, including at the Hungary-Serbia border.
Ongoing advocacy resulted in a number of legislative changes that positively affected the life of people of concern, such as better access to health care for some refugees in Bulgaria and Moldova, as well as improved opportunities to end statelessness in those countries. Refugees and asylum-seekers also became eligible for a wider range of social benefits in Poland. In Romania, the birth registration process was improved. In the Czech Republic, UNHCR worked to maintain the relatively high reception standards in reception facilities. In Croatia, efforts continued to further develop the asylum system in line with international and EU standards.
In Northern Europe UNHCR sought to prevent restrictions and maintain standards in law, policy and practice by advising on policy. The Office also supported capacity building on refugee law for lawyers and decision-makers.
Asylum frameworks, procedures, practice, and reception arrangements in the Baltic States improved following the adoption of laws which are better aligned with international and EU standards. UNHCR supported governmental efforts to develop comprehensive integration programmes.
In Southern Europe significant results were achieved in the areas of access to territory and asylum procedures, improved reception conditions, limiting detention, and fostering integration. In Italy, UNHCR complemented its advocacy strategy with enhanced operational engagement on disembarkation and child protection. UNHCR informed some 90 per cent of sea arrivals on their international protection options. Furthermore, UNHCR promoted vocational training and launched several employment projects with the business community. In Spain, UNHCR successfully promoted integration pilot projects and implemented a consultative process on refugee integration with Government counterparts. In Malta, the system of mandatory detention of all irregular arrivals was replaced with a more favourable pre-screening model. An increase in boat arrivals was recorded in Cyprus in 2016. UNHCR and partners regularly monitored the situation of the applicants at the reception centre and provided social and legal advice and counselling, and ensured that residents, in particular those with specific needs, have timely and adequate access to assistance.
In Western Europe UNHCR continued to focus on ensuring safe access to territory and asylum procedures, and reinforced efforts to facilitate integration and find durable solutions. UNHCR monitored reception conditions and offered technical expertise to support national and local authorities to enhance conditions, particularly for those with specific needs. The Office also pursued improvements to the quality of the asylum procedure and engaged in capacity building and quality assurance activities. UNHCR also engaged in integration activities, mainly playing a coordination role between governmental and non-governmental actors, including from the private sector.
|238||Number of personnel (international and national)|
|25||Nombre de bureaux|
|64.2 million||Overall funding requirements in USD (ExCom-approved 2016 budget)|
Operational Environment and Strategy
The subregion is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking protection. In the first half of 2015, the number of applications for asylum in European Union (EU) countries was almost twice as high as the same period in 2014 (398,680 versus 217,440). As of June 2015, Germany had received the largest number of applications (154,100), followed by Hungary (65,415), Italy (30,220), France (30,030), Sweden (25,716) and Austria (27,221).
Sea arrivals in Greece and Italy continue unabated, reaching 886,000 by the end of November 2015 - a significant increase compared to 2014 (219,000 in total). Arrivals are mainly Syrians, Afghans, Eritreans, Nigerians and Somalis, and include families, women, and unaccompanied and separated children. Despite extensive search and rescue operations, over 3,500 people had died or were missing at sea at the end of October 2015.
Most arrivals continue their journey onwards to other EU countries, intensifying pressure on European asylum and reception systems, and putting the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) under significant stress. The deadline for transposing the last two instruments of the CEAS, i.e. the Reception Conditions Directive and the Asylum Procedures Directive, elapsed on 20 July 2015 and the process has not been completed in many Member States.
In May 2015, the European Commission launched the European Agenda on Migration, which adopts a holistic approach to address the Mediterranean crisis and recognizes the need for coordinated action in a number of policy areas. Since then, the EU adopted a series of implementing measures for the Agenda.
In this context, UNHCR has maintained five key priorities in the subregion for 2016 and 2017:
- Safeguard asylum space and ensure access to territory and acceptable reception conditions, including for people with specific needs;
- Build and maintain effective and fair asylum procedures;
- Secure durable solutions;
- Prevent and resolve statelessness; and
- Strengthen UNHCR’s external relations and mobilize support for its operations worldwide.
Response and Implementation
UNHCR will strengthen cooperation with relevant stakeholders, including European States and EU institutions. These efforts will continue to be guided by its Special Mediterranean Initiative (SMI), which includes measures not only within the European Union, but also in transit or first-asylum countries and in countries of origin. Activities will focus on monitoring admission practices and capacity building to prevent refoulement and ensure access to territory.
UNHCR will continue supporting the implementation of the European Agenda on Migration, focusing on measures to ensure a full and coherent application of the CEAS and enhancement of reception conditions, intra-EU relocation, and the EU resettlement plan; as well as to address the root causes of forced displacement.
In Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Poland, UNHCR will continue to work with the authorities to address onward movements across Europe. Focus will be placed on ensuring that borders remain open, and that protection-sensitive border management and prompt identification mechanisms for people in need of protection, including those with specific needs, are in place. In the Republic of Moldova, UNHCR will focus on assisting the Government in maintaining an effective asylum system.
UNHCR will continue to support the EU, its agencies and Member States in efforts to ensure that the relocation scheme for 160,000 persons is implemented successfully. In addition, UNHCR will continue to work with European States to fulfil their existing annual resettlement quotas, as well as those pledges made towards the EU resettlement scheme for 20,000 persons. It will also continue to advocate for Member States to offer other legal avenues for people in need of protection to reach Europe. Furthermore, UNHCR will pursue efforts to strengthen integration capacity, promote family reunification and fight xenophobia.
In the framework of its Global Campaign to End Statelessness, UNHCR will pursue advocacy efforts to encourage more EU Member States to accede to the 1954 and 1961 statelessness conventions. UNHCR will also continue to encourage adoption of national action plans to address statelessness and efforts to establish formal identification and protection mechanisms for stateless people.
2016 Budget and Expenditure in Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe | USD
|Belgium Regional Office||Budget|
|Hungary Regional Office||Budget|
|Italy Regional Office||Budget|
|Sweden Regional Office||Budget|
2016 Voluntary Contributions to Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe | USD
|Earmarking / Donor||Pillar 1
|Belgium Regional Office|
|Private donors in France||31,739||0||0||31,739|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||273,571||0||0||273,571|
|Belgium Regional Office subtotal||2,068,577||0||388,313||2,456,891|
|Private donors in France||1,481,481||0||0||1,481,481|
|Private donors in Greece||222,965||0||0||222,965|
|Private donors in Switzerland||151,215||0||0||151,215|
|Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||145,560||0||0||145,560|
|Private donors in the United States of America||250,000||0||225,000||475,000|
|Republic of Korea||800,000||0||0||800,000|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||7,199,042||0||0||7,199,042|
|Hungary Regional Office|
|Private donors in Japan||3,000||0||0||3,000|
|Hungary Regional Office subtotal||3,000||0||479,839||482,839|
|Italy Regional Office|
|Italy Regional Office subtotal||7,582,561||0||549,607||8,132,168|
|Private donors in Japan||1,027,558||0||0||1,027,558|
|Private donors in Spain||2,459,271||0||0||2,459,271|
|Private donors in the Republic of Korea||360,000||0||0||360,000|
|Regional activities subtotal||4,428,343||0||21,491||4,449,834|
|Sweden Regional Office|
|Sweden Regional Office subtotal||0||200,000||0||200,000|