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2015 UNHCR subregional operations profile - Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe

| Overview |

UNHCR 2015 Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe subregional operations map

The number of asylum applications received in 2014 in European Union (EU) Member States has risen by 25 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. A quarter of the applicants are of Afghan, Eritrean or Syrian origin, and a similar proportion are under 18 years of age. There have also been many more asylum applications from stateless people, with an estimated total of 436,000 people across the European Union. Germany continues to be the recipient of the largest number of asylum applications, followed by France, Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom.

In the first seven months of 2014, more than 87,000 people arrived in Italy by sea, mainly from Eritrea and the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria). In an effort to reduce the risks linked to such journeys, in October 2013 the Italian Government launched the Mare Nostrum operation, which has rescued more than 100,000 people. Greece and Spain also recorded an increase in arrivals.

The economic situation in the region has had an impact on the capacity and readiness of many countries to strengthen their protection systems. Austerity measures have also hit civil-society organizations that provide services to asylum-seekers and refugees. Xenophobia and intolerance have led to incidents of discrimination and violence. States have responded by concentrating on curbing irregular movements, including through tighter border controls and detention, or penalization for illegal entry.

UNHCR will build on international and regional law and policy to support States' efforts to find durable solutions for unaccompanied and separated children, who have been arriving in the subregion in large numbers.

The Office continues to be particularly concerned about reports that some EU countries are placing barriers to entry or forcibly returning asylum-seekers and refugees.

In April 2014, the European Union adopted the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, representing a commitment of over EUR 3 billion for the next seven years (2014-2020). A major portion of this fund will be allocated to Member States' national programmes to complement their own domestic budgets, which should help improve asylum systems, reception modalities, and integration policies.

In this context, UNHCR's work in the subregion will also focus on:

  • Assisting and supporting governments to build and maintain fair and efficient asylum and protection systems;

  • Ensuring border management is more protection-sensitive. The Office will promote alternatives to detention. It will also advocate for reception conditions that meet minimum international standards;

  • Promoting responsibility-sharing among EU Member States, complementing the efforts of the European Commission and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO);

  • Promoting community participation and preventing and responding to incidents of sexual and gender-based violence(SGBV);

  • Advocating for more resettlement places and enhancing integration capacity in resettlement countries;

  • Urging States to accede to the 1954 and 1961 UN Statelessness Conventions, improving mechanisms to identify and protect stateless people and preventing and resolving situations of statelessness; and

  • Supporting EU policy-making processes related to people of concern and mobilizing regional political and financial support for UNHCR's work worldwide.

| Response and implementation |

Asylum and protection

In 2015, one of UNHCR's priorities will be to ensure the safeguarding of asylum space. To prevent deaths at sea, the organization will work with European States towards more concerted action. These efforts will be guided by its Central Mediterranean Sea Initiative (CMSI), which includes measures not only within the European Union, but also in transit or first asylum countries, and in countries of origin. The CMSI seeks to strengthen cooperation with relevant stakeholders. Admission practices will be monitored and the capacity of immigration and coast guard officials built, to help prevent refoulement and ensure that those in need of international protection can access territory.

UNHCR offices in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom will follow up on measures in respect of the Response to Vulnerability project. Standard operating procedures will be instituted in reception centres to respond to incidents of SGBV.

The Office will pursue efforts to build and maintain an effective asylum and protection system. Since 2013, UNHCR and the Government of Albania have worked in close collaboration to ensure the safe arrival of more than 240 former residents of the Hurriya temporary transit location (ex-Ashraf) in Iraq who are in need of international protection, and will continue working on durable solutions for this refugee group.

UNHCR will also work to assure reception conditions and procedures that are adequate for responding to asylum-seekers' specific needs and maintaining their dignity. UNHCR and UNICEF are developing guidance on how States can ensure respect for the best interests of unaccompanied children in Europe.

In line with the organization's global Beyond Detention strategy, rolled out in Hungary, Lithuania, Malta and the United Kingdom, the Office will promote alternatives to detention, as well as the release of children held and improvements in detention conditions.

Monitoring and reporting on national practices will help identify gaps and good practice. The follow-up study to Beyond Proof, which assesses credibility in claims lodged by unaccompanied children, will be completed in 2014 and will require implementation in 2015.

Having analysed the reasons for their movements, UNHCR has started developing a more comprehensive protection strategy for Afghans.

Comments on legislation in the context of the transposition of the asylum acquis, comparative analyses and judicial engagement, will allow UNHCR to contribute to the setting of national and regional legal standards. It will implement quality audit mechanisms and participate in some national asylum procedures, such as those in France, Italy and Spain.

UNHCR will continue to complement EASO's efforts to improve practical cooperation among EU Member States in building asylum systems and improving the quality of country-of-origin information.

The Office will pursue its efforts to identify cases for judicial engagement with national and European courts. It will continue to support the conference of refugee law judges in Germany. Judicial engagement and court interventions will permit UNHCR to ensure the correct application of relevant laws in refugee cases.

UNHCR works closely with civil-society organizations and others involved in refugee protection. Innovative approaches include high-visibility campaigns in public spaces and transport. In 2015, particular attention will be paid to improving social media communication.

Durable solutions

Despite 22 out of 36 countries contributing to UNHCR's resettlement efforts in some capacity, the number of resettlement places for the region remain limited. Special attention will be devoted to resettlement and humanitarian admission of Syrian refugees, and the Office will continue managing the Emergency Transit Centres in Timisoara (Romania) and Humenné (Slovakia).

In order to enhance reception and integration capacities and improve refugees' local integration prospects, the Office will work to raise awareness of the integration challenges facing 1.6 million refugees in the region and to promote good practice in labour market integration, housing and the building of social and professional networks.

Statelessness

UNHCR has launched a 10-year campaign to end statelessness, and will advocate for more EU Member States to accede to the 1954 and 1961 UN Statelessness Conventions. The organization will encourage and support States to adopt national action plans to address statelessness, conduct public awareness activities and advocate for a formal identification and protection mechanism for stateless people be established in countries that lack one.

The Office will continue to advocate for law reform preventing statelessness at birth or later in life, and the facilitation of naturalization. Cooperation with the European Network on Statelessness will continue.

| Financial information |

The budget for the subregion has increased significantly in the past years, from USD 51.1 million in 2011 to USD 68.1 million in 2015, primarily owing to the impact of the Syria Situation and asylum-seekers arriving by boat to the shores of Southern Europe.

The budget for the subregion will however be reduced during the course of 2015 as the operation in Albania will move to South-Eastern Europe within the context of UNHCR's regionalization process in the western Balkans.

Approximately 94 per cent of the 2015 budget is allocated to refugee programmes, with the remaining 6 per cent for statelessness activities.

UNHCR 2015 budgets for Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe (USD)
Operation 2014
Revised budget
(as of 30 June 2014)
2015
Refugee
programme
PILLAR 1
Stateless
programme
PILLAR 2
Reintegration
projects
PILLAR 3
Total
Total 68,075,927 62,431,037 4,479,646 1,191,163 68,101,847
1. Includes activities in Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Liaison Office in Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
2. Includes activities in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and as from 2015, also Croatia.
3. Includes activities in Albania, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Spain.
4. Includes activities in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway.
Belgium Regional Office[1] 14,521,916 14,603,538 1,431,980 0 16,035,518
Hungary Regional Office[2] 17,069,083 11,993,641 1,702,007 1,191,163 14,886,811
Italy Regional Office[3] 24,976,188 22,677,175 223,092 0 22,900,267
Sweden Regional Office[4] 5,538,754 4,518,289 965,440 0 5,483,728
Regional Activities 5,969,986 8,638,394 157,127 0 8,795,521

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2015 Update


UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representative in Spain
Style of Address The UNHCR Representative in Spain
Street Address General Peron, 28020 Madrid, Spain
Mailing Address General Peron, 28020 Madrid, Spain
Telephone 34 91 555 8631
Facsimile 34 91 555 1845
Website http://www.acnur.es
Email spama@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 1
Working Hours
Monday:09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday:09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday:09:00 - 17:00
Thursday:09:00 - 17:00
Friday:09:00 - 17:00
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New Year's Day
06 January 2014, Epiphany
17 April 2014, Maundy Thursday
18 April 2014, Good Friday
01 May 2014, Labour Day
02 May 2014, Madrid's Regional Day
28 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
06 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
25 December 2014, Christmas Day
26 December 2014, Boxinf Day
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UNHCR contact information

Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Spain [1]
Refugees [2] 4,637
Asylum Seekers [3] 4,344
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 270
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 9,251
Originating from Spain [1]
Refugees [2] 56
Asylum Seekers [3] 75
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 131
Government Contributions to UNHCR
2013 Contributions Breakdown
Total contribution in USD: 7,596,836 [rank: 23]
Total contribution in currency: 5,725,975 (EUR)
Donor ranking per GDP: 33
Donor ranking per capita: 30

Contributions from Spain are divided between the central Government (4,304,900 USD) and decentralized public sources (3,291,936 USD). The latter are channelled through España con ACNUR as follows:
Contributions from Regional and Local Public SourcesUSD
Autonomous Community of Andalusia1,356,852
Autonomous Community of Asturias342,418
Provincial Government of Bizkaia286,736
City Council of Zaragoza258,004
Autonomous Community of Extremadura241,379
Catalan Fund for Development Cooperation130,378
City Council of Barcelona122,282
City Council of Bilbao91,059
Autonomous Community of Castilla la Mancha86,956
Sub-total2,916,067
Other Public Sources379,475
Grand total3,295,543

2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2000
YearUSD
2014
More info 7,159,338
As at 8 December 2014
2013
More info 7,596,836
Total contribution in USD: 7,596,836 [rank: 23]
Total contribution in currency: 5,725,975 (EUR)
Donor ranking per GDP: 33
Donor ranking per capita: 30

Contributions from Spain are divided between the central Government (4,304,900 USD) and decentralized public sources (3,291,936 USD). The latter are channelled through España con ACNUR as follows:
Contributions from Regional and Local Public SourcesUSD
Autonomous Community of Andalusia1,356,852
Autonomous Community of Asturias342,418
Provincial Government of Bizkaia286,736
City Council of Zaragoza258,004
Autonomous Community of Extremadura241,379
Catalan Fund for Development Cooperation130,378
City Council of Barcelona122,282
City Council of Bilbao91,059
Autonomous Community of Castilla la Mancha86,956
Sub-total2,916,067
Other Public Sources379,475
Grand total3,295,543
2012
More info14,916,910
Total contribution in USD: 14,916,910 [rank: 16]
Total contribution in currency: 11,459,951 (EUR)
Donor ranking per GDP: 24
Donor ranking per capita: 23

Contributions from Spain are divided between the central Government (USD 8,773,785) and decentralized public sources (USD 6,143,124). The latter are channelled through España con ACNUR as follows:
Contributions from Regional and Local Public SourcesUSD
Autonomous Community of Andalusia2,412,868
Autonomous Community of Basque Country1,161,922
Autonomous Community of Catalonia645,995
Autonomous Community of Navarra354,773
Regional Government of Vizcaya352,897
Autonomous Community of Asturias211,921
City Council of Zaragoza180,879
Sub-total5,321,255
Other Public Sources821,869
Grand total6,143,124
2011
More info30,893,391
Total contribution in USD: 30,893,391 [rank: 13]
Total contribution in currency: 22,116,979 EUR; 300,556 USD
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 7,132,668 [rank: 15]
Donor ranking per GDP: 18
Donor ranking per capita: 19
Contributions from Spain are divided between the central Government (USD 25,317,930) and decentralized public sources (USD 6,044,689). The latter are channelled through España con ACNUR as follows:
Contributions from Regional and Local Public Sources
Autonomous Community of Andalusia 2,365,308
Autonomous Community of Basque Country 1,427,844
Autonomous Community of Valencia 636,901
Autonomous Community of Asturias 553,941
Regional Government of Vizcaya 362,506
City Council of Madrid 143,061
City Council of Bilbao 131,788
Fons Català de Cooperación al Desenvolupament 107,296
Sub-total 5,728,648
Other Public Sources 316,040
Grand total 6,044,689
2010
More info39,169,995
Total contribution in USD: 39,169,995 (rank: 12) [1]
Total contribution in currency: 29,082,027 EUR
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 13,253,012 (rank: 7)
Donor ranking per GDP: 18
Donor ranking per capita: 20
[1] Contributions from Spain are divided between the central Government (USD 32,022,948) and decentralized public sources (USD 7,516,248). The latter are channelled through España con ACNUR.
2009
More info39,539,195
Total contribution in USD: 39,539,195 (rank: 11] (1)
Total contribution in currency: 28,043,065 EUR
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 14,365,411 [RANK: 6)
Donor ranking per GDP: 17
Donor ranking per capita: 17Contributions from regional and local public sources:
Autonomous Community of Castilla-La Mancha 1,393,091
Autonomous Community of Valencia 1,311,069
Autonomous Community of the Basque Country 1,046,025
Autonomous Community of Andalusia 793,651
Autonomous Community of Catalonia 632,022
Autonomous Community of Asturias 536,295
Autonomous Community of Navarra 514,278
Other public sources 1,289,815
(1) Contributions from Spain are divided between the Central Government (USD 32,022,948) and decentralized public sources (USD 7,516,248). The latter are channelled through España con ACNUR.
2008
More info36,059,344
Total contribution in USD: 36,059,344 [1] (rank: 12)
Total contribution in currency: 24,613,281 (EUR)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 16,271,642 (rank: 6)
Donor ranking per GDP: 18
Donor ranking per capita: 18
Contributions from regional and local public sources
Autonomous Community of Valencia 1,529,495
Autonomous Community of the Basque Country 1,098,097
Autonomous Community of Andalusia 872,988
City Council of Madrid 777,202
Autonomous Community of Catalonia 699,844
Autonomous Community of Castilla-La Mancha 466,563
Diputación Foral of Bizkaia 369,276
Autonomous Community of Asturias 311,042
Autonomous Community of Navarra 248,154
City Council of Zaragoza 192,762
City Council of Bilbao 129,534
Diputación Foral of Guipuzkoa 111,975
Other public sources 687,050
[1] Contributions from Spain are divided between the Central Government (USD 28,565,363) and decentralized public sources (USD 687,050). The latter are channelled through España con ACNUR.
2007
More info33,549,906
Total contribution in USD: 33,549,906 [1] (rank: 10)
Total contribution in currency: 24,299,055 (EUR)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 13,844,086 (rank: 7)
Donor ranking per GDP: 17
Donor ranking per capita: 19
Contributions from regional and local public sources
Autonomous Community of Catalonia 958,702
Autonomous Community of Valencia 864,553
Autonomous Community of Andalusia 784,813
Autonomous Community of the Basque Country 648,415
Autonomous Community of Castilla-La Mancha 523,590
Autonomous Community of Navarra 510,638
Diputación Foral of Bizkaia 487,376
Autonomous Community of Asturias 414,324
Diputación Foral of Guipuzkoa 292,015
City Council of Zaragoza 134,409
City Council of Bilbao 157,827
Other public sources 885,328
[1] Contributions from Spain are divided between the Central Government (USD 26,887,917) and decentralized public sources (USD 6,661,989). The latter are channelled through España con ACNUR.
2006
More info27,874,622
Total contribution in USD: 27,874,622 [1] (rank: 10)
Total contribution in currency: 22,712,281 (EUR)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 11,729,858 (rank: 6)
Donor ranking per GDP: 12
Donor ranking per capita: 15
Contributions from regional and local administrations in Spain (USD)
City Council of Madrid 1,049,492
Autonomous Community of the Basque Country 685,729
Autonomous Community of Catalonia 527,009
Autonomous Community of Navarra 525,381
Autonomous Community of Asturias 448,225
Diputación Foral of Guipuzkoa 442,514
Autonomous Community of Andalusia 354,970
Diputación Foral of Bizkaia 220,556
Autonomous Community of Galicia 166,402
Fundacin la Caixa 126,902
Autonomous Community of Castilla-La Mancha 125,628
Caja de Ahorros del Mediterrneo 125,628
Other public sources 1,293,748
[1] The total contribution from Spain is divided between the Central Government (USD 21,782,889) and other decentralized public sources (USD 6,091,734). The latter are channelled through España con ACNUR.
2005
More info15,110,751
USD 15,110,751 of which USD 10,225,031 from the Central Government and USD 4,885,720 from other administrations.
2004
More info12,902,056
USD 12,902,056 of which USD 5,295,395 (41%) from the Central Government and USD 7,606,661 (59%) from other administrations, the latter channeled through España con ACNUR
2003
More info 9,422,905
USD 9,422,905 of which USD 3,992,092 from the central government and USD 5,430,813 from other administrations, the latter channeled through España con ACNUR.
2002
More info 2,979,889
USD 2,979,889 of which USD 1,798,804 unrestricted (60%), USD 887,042 earmarked at the country level (30%), USD 294,043 earmarked at the sectoral level (10%).
2001
More info 3,112,799
USD 3,112,799 of which 1,896,261 (61%) unrestricted and 1,216,538 (39%) earmarked.
2000
More info 2,166,574
USD 2,166,574 of which 1,845,902 (85%) unrestricted and 320,672 (15%) earmarked.
Private Sector Contributions to UNHCR
Private sector fund raising 2013

Total contribution in USD: 29,394,706
Total contribution in currency: 22,075,483 (EUR)
Major donorUSD
Espana con ACNUR (ECA)29,374,508
Private sector donations through ECA
Fundación La Caixa268,097
Fundación Probitas189,791
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya - Argentaria (BBVA)85,089
Gredos San Diego S. Coop. Mad43,767

2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2006
YearUSD
2014
More info31,305,870
As at 8 December 2014
2013
More info29,394,706

Total contribution in USD: 29,394,706
Total contribution in currency: 22,075,483 (EUR)
Major donorUSD
Espana con ACNUR (ECA)29,374,508
Private sector donations through ECA
Fundación La Caixa268,097
Fundación Probitas189,791
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya - Argentaria (BBVA)85,089
Gredos San Diego S. Coop. Mad43,767
2012
More info22,091,294

Total contribution in USD: 22,091,294
Total contribution in currency: 17,159,869 (EUR); 1,627 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
España con ACNUR:
Intervida662,251
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)155,863*
"La Caixa" Foundation66,811
Sociedad Española de Radiofusion, S. L. Cadena Ser60,983

* This contribution was received in two instalments in 2012 and in the beginning of 2013.
2011
More info14,771,854

Total contribution in USD: 14,771,854
Total contribution in currency: 10,746,195 (EUR); 4,045 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
Intervida Foundation704,225
La Caixa Foundation290,587
BBVA161,290
Montepío Minería Asturiana50,188
Coop. Gredos-San Diego45,316
2010
More info10,164,027

Total contribution in USD: 10,164,028
Total contribution in currency: 7,822,144 EUR
Major donorsUSD
Nike Inc through FC Barcelona Foundation245,740
Fundación La Caixa216,820
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA)134,371
Ediciones Zeta, S.A.72,273
Gredos San Diego71,849
2009 9,019,578
200813,425,056
200711,565,275
2006 6,966,217

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Sighted off Spain's Canary Islands

Despite considerable dangers, migrants seeking a better future and refugees fleeing war and persecution continue to board flimsy boats and set off across the high seas. One of the main routes into Europe runs from West Africa to Spain's Canary Islands.

Before 2006, most irregular migrants taking this route used small vessels called pateras, which can carry up to 20 people. They left mostly from Morocco and the Western Sahara on the half-day journey. The pateras have to a large extent been replaced by boats which carry up to 150 people and take three weeks to reach the Canaries from ports in West Africa.

Although only a small proportion of the almost 32,000 people who arrived in the Canary Islands in 2006 applied for asylum, the number has gone up. More than 500 people applied for asylum in 2007, compared with 359 the year before. This came at a time when the overall number of arrivals by sea went down by 75 percent during 2007.

Sighted off Spain's Canary Islands