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Refugees [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for refugees.


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People who flee war and persecution in their own country have a right to apply for protection in another country as refugees. International refugee law obliges countries to provide access to protection and adequate reception conditions that respect applicants’ human rights.

Silhouette Of Refugees People With Luggage Walking In A Row

© Andrey Popov / Fotolia

EU law upholds these principles and aims to ensure that all EU countries not only offer protection, but also have the same understanding as to who qualifies as a refugee. While the final decision to accord protection is taken at national level, EU law has shaped national provisions and added guarantees that a similar level of protection is available to refugees across the EU.

To help countries outside the EU that currently host large numbers of refugees, such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, the EU has also established a system for all EU countries to receive refugees directly from those countries. This is largely based on EU cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which helps to resettle refugees directly from refugee camps.

The EU also contributes through funding, both in and outside the EU. Within the EU, €7.4 billion funding is planned for 2015-2017. The EU also offers development and humanitarian aid to countries outside the EU, to help them strengthen their societies in the face of difficult times, and to support refugee reception and integration.

Further information

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