Building Knowledge for a Concerted and Sustainable Approach to Refugee Resettlement in the EU and its Member States

The establishment of a Joint EU resettlement programme (COM(2009) 447 final)

European Commission


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 2 September 2009 on the establishment of a joint EU resettlement programme. (Not published in the Official Journal)


This communication proposes a joint EU resettlement programme in order to improve European action in the international protection of refugees and to show solidarity with third countries. The purpose is to devise a strategic approach to resettlement by integrating it into EU external policy actions, and to streamline efforts to make them more cost-effective. The aim is also to integrate resettlement into the future Regional Protection Programmes (RPPs).

The Communication provides the following guiding principles:

  • participation in resettlement should be voluntary for Member States;

  • EU resettlement activities should be extended;
  • the programme should be incremental and adaptable to changing circumstances;
  • all stakeholders should be able to participate (international and local NGOs, local authorities, etc.).

The main programme components proposed are:

  • common annual priorities on the basis of a consultative process
  • financial assistance by the ERF to Member States that "pledge" to resettle refugees according to annual priorities.
  • transformation of the existing ad hoc resettlement expert group into a permanent body.

The resettlement expert group will carry out preparatory work for identifying the common annual priorities for the EU, exchange information on Member States’ quantitative targets and assess the specific resettlement needs. The UNHCR will be closely involved in the preparatory work by providing an assessment of worldwide resettlement needs. The common annual priorities will subsequently be established by a Commission decision using the comitology procedure. They will focus on specific geographic regions, nationalities or categories of refugees, and provide for more flexibility to respond to new or urgent needs.

Source: EUROPA website (last updated: 11.12.2009) accessed on 4 April 2012: at

Files attached to this content:

COM(2009) 447 final