In the past, several Member States implemented resettlement programmes for refugees, in a structural or intermittent manner. Nevertheless, the number of refugees resettled within the European Union remained modest in comparison with world figures. Not all Member States had resettlement programmes. Moreover, the Member States which carried out resettlement broadly set their priorities at national level, without much coordination at European Union level.
Based on these two observations, the European Commission proposed that annual common priorities be defined. These priorities are focused on geographical regions, nationalities or specific categories of refugees and offer a certain flexibility to respond to new or urgent needs.
The European Parliament adopted the Joint European Resettlement Programme on 29 March 2012. From 2013, Member States who commit to supporting the resettlement of refugees according to these priorities, will receive increased financial aid from the European Refugee Fund or the future Asylum and Migration Fund.
It’s in this context that Belgium has been committed since 2013 to resettling a quota of refugees annually, implementing its first structural resettlement programme.