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

Improving access to durable solutions (COM(2004) 410 final)

European Commission


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 4 June 2004 on the managed entry in the EU of persons in need of international protection and the enhancement of the protection capacity of the regions of origin: "improving access to durable solutions". COM(2004) 410 final. (Not published in the Official Journal)


This Communication makes recommendations on how to enhance protection capacities in order to maximise the opportunities for resettlement, and proposes an EU-wide Resettlement Scheme. The Communication also recommends to enhance the reception capacity of the countries of first asylum, located in the asylum-seekers' regions of origin. The Communication outlines the various key elements of an EU Resettlement Scheme, e.g. objectives, legal framework, application, targets, criteria and financial implications.

The Communicationstates that the Commission believes that the resettlement of refugees, which is often given a lower priority than voluntary repatriation, could play an important part in EU asylum policy. It therefore advocates the introduction of an EU-wide resettlement programme. All Member States would be expected participate, but the scheme would be flexible and non-binding.


The main objective of the resettlement programme would be to provide international protection by facilitating the organised arrival of refugees in the EU. The programme's watchword would be flexibility, and it would be situation-specific; target a constant but limited number of refugees; and could be adjusted according to the capacity of the Member States to accommodate asylum-seekers. Targets would be set at European level.

Selection criteria

Resettlement would primarily affect individuals qualifying for international protection and groups of refugees regarded by the EU as particularly vulnerable. Candidates would be selected on the basis of interviews with the immigration services of the Member States during visits to the region of origin. The selection criteria could be agreed collectively or be specific to the Member States. There could be a role for NGOs in helping candidates to prepare their dossiers.

Logistics and partners

The logistical arrangements could be modelled on the resettlement programmes currently operating in certain European countries under the auspices of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Transport could be organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The EU would also provide technical assistance to the Member States for the preparation, referral, and selection of resettlement cases.

In sum, the Commission requests the European Parliament, Council and the European Council to endorse an EU resettlement scheme-proposal (to be submitted to the Council by July 2005) on the basis of the main features as set out in the Communication, including a proposal for technical assistance- underpinning such scheme.


Source: EUROPA website (last updated: 25.02.2005) accessed on 4 April 2012 at:

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COM(2004) 410 final