There are approximately 600.000 stateless persons in Europe. Its most common causes include state succession, ill-defined or discriminatory nationality laws, arbitrary deprivation of nationality, displacement and forced migration, birth to a stateless person, lack of birth registration or inability to satisfy certain requirements for the acquisition of nationality. These numbers may increase due to the migration crisis. This is one of the reasons why the Justice and Home Affairs Council conclusions of 3 and 4 December 2015 mandated the Europen Migration Network (EMN) to establish a platform for exchange of information and goods practices. The EMN Platform on Statelessness was established by the Steering Board of EMN on 20 May 2016.
What is the aim?
The EMN Platform on Statelessness has the intention to raise awareness in regards with statelessness and to bring all the relevant stakeholders in the field together: representatives of Member States, European Commission, European Parliament, European agencies, international organisations, and NGOs. The first practical objective of this platform was to determine the state of play of statelessness in the European Union.
What we do?
The platform collects and analyses information on statelessness via the EMN Ad-hoc query system. First findings of the analysis were presented in the EMN Inform “Statelessness in the EU”. The findings were presented on the 20th October 2016 at the Luxembourg Permanent Representation to the European Union with the presence of representatives of Member States’ Permanent Representation to the European Union, UNHCR and the European Network on Statelessness.
The platform organizes relevant trainings to state officials on statelessness. EMN Platform on Statelessness, in collaboration with UNHCR and ENS, organized a conference in Brussels on 18 January 2017 entitled “Addressing Statelessness in the European Union: One year on from the adoption of European Council Conclusions”.
The platform aims to increase visibility of statelessness. The engagement of the Maltese Government to include in its Presidency agenda the issue of statelessness determination, and to discuss it in the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA) setting is an encouraging sign, and signals a positive intent to move forward with the Council conclusions.
- Coordination with NGOs and international organizations (UNHCR and UNICEF) the implementation of a mapping exercise identifying vulnerable stateless persons in the Member States, as a first step and then expand this action to other stateless individuals. This action will allow UNHCR and/or UNICEF and NGOs to directly address the competent authorities in the respective Member States in order to solve the legal situation of these identified individuals.
- Foster and develop a common approach by which Member States can work towards introducing or improving Statelessness Determination Procedure at the national level - which the Maltese Presidency may take forward under their EU Presidency agenda. The Platform will contribute through the exchange of good practices and the development of non-binding guidelines.
- Determine through the use of EMN tools the costs of procedure for regularizing the situation in the Member States in order to bring this under Member States Practitioner’s Agenda.
- Organization of a follow-up meeting in six months’ time to take stock on the progress that done with regards to the deliverables in advance of the next annual conference.