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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/17


(3 March 2003)

1. The Council has not discussed the specific rumours concerning the possible increase of Jihad Laskar
activity in Papua. The Council would, however, refer the Honourable MEP to the reply given to Question
H-0968/01 by Lennart Sacredeus for the Plenary session, of February 2002 and which remains valid.

2. However, during their extensive visit in Papua in late March 2002, EU Heads of Mission raised on
various occasions the question of inter-communal violence and possible solutions with the Indonesian
authorities and representatives of the local communities. As a result, the EU has reiterated its call on the
Government of Indonesia to implement the policy of change contained in the Special Autonomy Law, to
better respect the rights of indigenous people, to investigate human rights violations and to bring their
perpetrators to justice.

3. The EU has, during the EU-Indonesia Foreign Ministers meeting on 24 September in Copenhagen,
also discussed the situation in several regions of Indonesia, including Aceh, Papua and the Moluccas.

(2003/C 155 E/017) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2382/02

by Geoffrey Van Orden (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(2 August 2002)

Subject: Treatment of asylum-seekers in the EU

1. How does each Member State count the number of migrants (refugees, asylum-seekers, etc.) seeking
admission (i.e. do they include all family members in their calculations or just heads of families)?

2. What State benefits are these migrants entitled to in each of the Member States of the EU?

3. At what stage are migrants entitled to vote in each of the Member States of the European Union?

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(14 October 2002)

Member States count in different ways the number of third country nationals seeking admission to their
territory making a distinction in particular as to whether they are refugees, asylum seekers, labour migrants
or persons seeking temporary protection.

For the purpose of producing Community statistics, definitions have been agreed with respect to the
counting of asylum applications and the positive decisions resulting from these applications, including the
granting of refugee status, humanitarian status and all other types of subsidiary protection equivalent to
asylum (e.g. protection granted under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights). However,
C 155 E/18 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.2003

the set of definitions used allows Member States to deliver data to Eurostat referring either to individual
persons (one application = one person) or cases (one application = one or more persons, e.g. a family).
Thus, Germany and the United Kingdom report cases, the other Member States normally report individual
persons. Nor is there a harmonised approach on counting withdrawals and abandonment of applications
for asylum. Moreover, applicants may be counted twice in total figures for repeat applications that are not
separated from first applications and in the cases of persons who are (re) transferred to another Member
State according to the Dublin Convention.

There is, however, as yet no agreed definition of general migration used for the production of Community
statistics. National statistical authorities are requested to supply data according to the 1997 United Nations
Recommendations for Statistics of International Migration (Revision 1). These Recommendations define a
long-term migrant as any person who changes their country of usual residence for 12 months or more, so
that their country of destination becomes, in effect, their new country of residence. However, many
Member States are unable to comply with these recommendations and instead supply data based on
national definitions and data sources. Some Member States base migration statistics on administrative
information such as applications for residence permits (e.g. France). Others (e.g. United Kingdom) do not
directly count migrants, but estimate migration using survey data. These variations in definitions and data
sources result in problems when comparing the migrant counts for different countries. For all Member
States, migration statistics generally relate to the individual migrant, that is a migrant worker and his
family would each be counted separately. Certain national statistical systems are able to supply a
breakdown of migrants according to reason for or category of migration  to work, to accompany/join a
family member etc.) but such a breakdown has not yet been collected for Community statistics.

The Commission is currently examining ways to improve the exchange of statistics and policy information
relating to asylum and immigration to the Union and will be bringing forward an Action Plan. This will
cover a variety of measures such as new statistical methods and the extension of existing data collections
in order to include data on the reasons for migration and the category of permit requested or granted.

The social benefits to which third country nationals are entitled, together with the right to vote, differ
according to the national legislation of each Member State and to the status of the person concerned
(e.g. legally resident (including refugees)), registered asylum seeker, person granted temporary protection or
person otherwise in need of international protection). In line with the conclusions of the Tampere
European Council, the Commission has proposed a common legal framework for the admission of third
country nationals for employment, for study and other purposes not specifically covered by Community
legislation, for the reception of asylum seekers, for the status of refugees and for persons otherwise in need
of international protection as well as arrangements in the event of a mass influx of persons needing
temporary protection (see list below of relevant proposals). This legislation provides for the harmonisation
of the benefits which should be made available for each category. The Directive on temporary protection
should enter into force in 2003 while other proposals are still under discussion in the Council.

The Commission has also put forward proposals for the harmonisation of national legislation, including
access to certain social benefits, with respect to long-term resident third country nationals and concerning
those admitted under family reunion arrangements. These proposals are also still in discussion in the

With respect to the right to vote for third-country nationals, it should be noted that the Commission has
no competence to legislate in this field which is a matter for each Member State to decide. The
Commission’s proposals (list sent direct to the Honourable Member and to Parliament’s Secretariat) do not,
therefore, contain any provisions on this issue.