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 - 2017 [projected][["Refugees",2127516],["Asylum-seekers",875249],["Stateless",418630],["Others of concern",5760]]
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Operational Environment and StrategyWhile more than 1 million people risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea in 2015 in search of safety and protection in Europe, the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement of 18 March 2016 led to a significant fall in the number of arrivals by sea to Greece. The number of arrivals by sea in Italy remained consistent as compared to 2015.
Some 556,000 applications for asylum had been received by European Union Member States in 2016 to date. Although many countries received less new applications in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, Iceland (+900%), Slovenia (+706%), Croatia (+390%), Greece (+254%) and Germany (+223%) received significantly more new applications. Germany received the highest number of new applications in the European Union – more than 360,000 as at June 2016.
The ongoing large numbers of arrivals continues to challenge the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), which requires EU Member States to act collectively and in line with their regional and international obligations. Some EU Member States have introduced restrictive measures, notably in the terms of family reunification, border controls and detention. UNHCR continues to engage in advocacy with respect to the European Commission’s proposals for the reform of the CEAS.
In 2017, UNHCR will also continue to focus on: safeguarding asylum space and ensuring access to territory and acceptable reception conditions; supporting authorities with registration, reception and provision of assistance, as well as referrals to relevant services; building and maintaining effective and fair asylum procedures; securing durable solutions; preventing and resolving statelessness; providing technical and functional support to government authorities; and building capacity, particularly in terms of emergency response. Furthermore activities related to SGBV prevention and response, child protection with a particular emphasis on the situation of UASC, as well as integration will be prioritized within the subregion.
Response and ImplementationIn 2017 UNHCR will continue to respond to the refugee situation in Europe, strengthening cooperation with relevant government counterparts, European Union institutions and agencies, international partners, NGOs, volunteer groups and local communities.
In Central Europe, following border closures in the first quarter of 2016, UNHCR adjusted its operational presence to strengthen protection monitoring and related advocacy interventions, while significantly reducing aid delivery. Changes in the asylum legislation in Hungary, alongside the dismantling of integration programmes in the country, had a deterrence effect, and only small numbers of asylum-seekers were admitted with bottlenecks created at border crossing points. Refugees and migrants, albeit in smaller numbers, continue to attempt to transit through Hungary and, to a lesser extent, Croatia and Slovenia, often using smuggling routes to reach destination countries. UNHCR will continue to work with governments, partners and civil society to strengthen asylum systems and to assist the most vulnerable people of concern, including unaccompanied and separated children, and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
In Northern Europe, UNHCR will continue to focus on: ensuring access to territory and asylum procedures, including non-penalization for irregular entry; enhancing the quality and efficiency of asylum procedures, with particular focus on child asylum claims; facilitating integration; and preventing and ending statelessness. UNHCR will work with civil society and the private sector to facilitate integration and family reunification, particularly in the Baltic States. In the Nordic States, UNHCR will strengthen strategic litigation and advocacy to ensure that asylum law and policy continue to meet regional and international standards.
In Southern Europe, UNHCR will reinforce efforts related to Dublin III discretionary and family reunification clauses. The Office will also support efforts to improve registration procedures, reception conditions, counselling, and integration programmes in countries of first arrival in the European Union. In Italy, in particular, UNHCR will provide emergency preparedness support to the Government in the event of an increase in arrivals. In 2016 sea arrivals of UASC have almost doubled compared to last year and UNHCR will specifically support the Government‘s efforts for UASC and on child protection. In Malta, the Office will advocate for a discontinuation of detention of asylum seekers upon arrival. In Cyprus, UNHCR will support the Government’s efforts to improve reception standards and strengthen asylum capacity. UNHCR will also continue to advocate for finalization of Portugal’s accession to the 1961 Convention. Advocacy for accession to both of the statelessness conventions will also be priorities in Cyprus and Malta.
In Western Europe UNHCR will continue to focus on ensuring safe access to territory and asylum procedures, and reinforce efforts to facilitate integration and find other durable solutions. UNHCR will also support efforts to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence and other protection risks in reception centres, and to ensure that effective protection is available to unaccompanied and separated children, through training and provision of technical expertise in coordination with authorities and partners. Although most countries in Western Europe have adequate asylum procedures in place, the large increase in the number of claims has placed pressure on these systems and led to backlogs. UNHCR will therefore strengthen its support to national authorities in the management of quality asylum systems.
2017 Budget for Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe | USD
|Belgium Regional Office||16,931,400||914,729||0||0||17,846,129|
|Hungary Regional Office||16,373,410||562,645||772,510||0||17,708,565|
|Italy Regional Office||31,677,708||215,538||0||0||31,893,246|
|Sweden Regional Office||3,963,160||646,315||0||0||4,609,475|
2017 Voluntary Contributions to Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe | USD
|Earmarking / Donor||Pillar 1
|Belgium Regional Office|
|Belgium Regional Office subtotal||202,646||202,646|
|Italy Regional Office|
|Italy Regional Office subtotal||1,591,491||1,591,491|
|International Organization for Migration||91,805||91,805|
|Regional activities subtotal||91,805||91,805|