REGIONAL PROTECTION PROGRAMMES (11989/05)
Letter from the Chairman to Tony McNulty
MP, Minister of State, Home Office
Thank you for your letter of 11 January 2006,
which Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs) of the House of Lords Select
Committee on the European Union considered on 1 February. We are
very grateful to you for providing us with the figures and information
requested in relation to the Gateway Programme.
The Committee noted that resettlement in the
UK is currently very low, and is well below the target the Government
has set. It seems to us that, given the difficulties encountered
with the Gateway Programme, the Government will hardly be in a
position to commit to any resettlement quota under the two pilot
Regional Protection Programmes (RPPs) shortly to be launched.
Nonetheless, we are glad to hear that the Government supports
resettlement. This is clearly an important component of RPPsone
that can genuinely lead to easing the burden in regions of origin,
and address protracted refugee situationsand we would hope
that the Commission's proposals for the two pilots will include
a resettlement element.
The Committee has learned that the December
European Council adopted Conclusions regarding priority actions
focusing on Africa and the Mediterranean which, amongst others,
call for the pilot in Tanzania to be established and launched
as early as possible in 2006, with a steering group to oversee
the programme. Given the urgency of the matter, we would expect
you to be shortly in a position to give us details of this and
of the NIS pilot in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, and of the results
of any discussions with UNHCR. We would also like information
on the composition of the steering group and on the financial
allocation for the two pilots. In the meantime we will continue
to keep the document under scrutiny.
1 February 2006
Letter from Tony McNulty MP to the Chairman
Thank you for your letter of 1 February in which
you ask for details of the European Commission's thinking on the
contents of the two pilot Regional Protection Programmes (RPPs),
proposed in the Commission's Communication on RPPs (Document 11989/05).
In my letter to you of 30 November 2005, I undertook
that my officials would write to you directly with these details.
A letter to this effect was sent to you on 31 January and I enclose
a copy of that letter.
I am satisfied that the letter of 31 January
covers the points that you raise, but if you need any further
information or clarification please do not hesitate to contact
1 March 2006
In his letter of 30 November, Tony McNulty
said he would keep you informed when the European Commission came
forward with further details for the implementation of the two
pilot Regional Protection Programmes (RPPs). The pilots are to
be deployed in the Western NIS region (Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus)
and sub-Saharan Africa/Great Lakes region (with a focus on Tanzania).
At the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers
and Asylum (SCIFA) held in Brussels on 13 December, the Commission
presented broad areas for actions that could form part of the
pilots, and advised Member States that discussions with the relevant
third countries had now taken place, stating that discussions
had fed into the process to identify the possible actions.
For the NIS region as a whole, the Commission
suggests projects that support regional co-operation, as well
as those to improve the registration and documentation of refugees
and projects focusing on voluntary returns.
The Commission suggests that Ukraine could additionally
benefit from actions being undertaken to improve the consideration
process of applications for refugee status through better interpretation
and translation methods and practices. Other areas for actions
in the Ukraine include improving legal and practical access to
intergration measures and promoting self reliance among refugees,
improving reception and accommodation infrastructures and establishing
effective border monitoring mechanisms with the aim of improving
access to procedures for persons in need of protection. The Commission
also suggest that actions which reinforce subsidiary protection
through the provision of legislative training and support could
also add value.
For Moldova, the Commission indicates that assistance
to develop the capacity of the refugee directorate, including
training, improving basic needs of refugees and developing an
intergration programme, would be appropriate.
In Belarus the Commission considers that projects
focusing on building the capacity of civil society and NGOs in
the asylum field, actions to improve legal and practical access
to intergration, and the promotion of self reliance for refugees,
could also improve capacity.
For the sub-Saharan Africa/Great Lakes region,
the Commission reports that the Tanzanian authorities have stressed
that the top priorities for Tanzania fall into three main areas:
repatriation, security and environmental redress. The Commission
suggests that for the pilot, projects which focus on the following
areas could add value: actions to strengthen the capacity of governmental
and non-governmental national institutions, projects to improve
the efficiency of registration and documentation of refugees,
actions to address the impact of refugee populations on the hosting
communities and work to encourage the inclusion of refugee issues
in the national development agenda.
On funding for the pilot programmes, the Commission
confirmed that the 2005 AENEAS Programme allocates 2 million
for NIS countries and 4 million for sub-Saharan Africa/Great
Lakes region, with a priority for actions in Tanzania. The Commission
also suggested that the 2006 TACIS Programme may provide further
funding for RPP activities in the NIS region.
The Commission also confirmed that it would
set up a steering committee comprising the relevant Commission
services, UNHCR, interested Member States and other relevant stakeholders
to oversee the proper co-ordination and delivery of the pilots.
There were no further details on the Commission's thinking for
the resettlement aspects of both pilots.
Letter from the Chairman to Tony McNulty
Thank you for your letter of 1 March 2006 and
for undertaking to update us on the Commission's thinking with
respect to the two Regional Protection Programmes (RPPs) which
were first proposed in this Communication. Sub-Committee F (Home
Affairs) of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European
Union considered this matter again at a meeting on 29 March.
We are very grateful for your officials' very
detailed letter of 31 January, which anticipates, and fully answers,
the points we raised in our letter of 1 February. The Committee
has no outstanding questions at this stage and has decided to
clear this document from scrutiny.
29 March 2006
186 Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of
Session 2005-06, HL Paper 243, p 538. Back