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Fit for purpose?The Facilitation Directive and the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants

by Sergio Carrera / Elspeth Guild / Ana Aliverti / Jennifer Allsopp / Maria Giovanna Manieri / Michele LeVoy
29 January 2016

Fit for purpose?The Facilitation Directive and the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants

Sergio Carrera / Elspeth Guild / Ana Aliverti / Jennifer Allsopp / Maria Giovanna Manieri / Michele LeVoy

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Authors: Sergio Carrera, Elspeth Guild, Ana Aliverti, Jennifer Allsopp, Maria Giovanna Manieri and Michele LeVoy with Mirja Gutheil and Aurelie Heetman

Series: Externally published research   No of pp: 132 pp

This study assesses the implementation of the humanitarian exception provisions of the Facilitation Directive and their impact on irregular migrants, along with the organisations and individuals providing assistance to them within EU member states. It maps the existing international and EU legal frameworks on people smuggling and their implementation in the national law of selected member states, assessing them against international, supranational and regional human rights instruments as well as the EU Charter. It subsequently gathers and presents data on the prosecution and conviction rates of those who have provided humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants and identifies important knowledge gaps and methodological caveats.

Drawing on primary survey data, this study also explores the material, direct and perceived effects of the Facilitation Directive from the perspective of civil society and local authorities. It identifies the practical challenges and experiences of cities and civil society arising from implementation of the Facilitation Directive and puts forward a series of policy recommendations to the European Parliament for improving and amending the Directive. The study aims at enhancing the European Parliament’s ability to make sound, evidence-based policy directed towards key stakeholders in this area and at strengthening its important role in ensuring democratic accountability at a time when the ‘Facilitators’ Package’ is under revision.

Sergio Carrera is Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Justice and Home Affairs unit at CEPS and Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Maastricht. Elspeth Guild is Senior Associate Research Fellow at CEPS and Jean Monnet Professor ad personam of European Immigration Law at Radboud University Nijmegen and Queen Mary, University of London. Ana Aliverti is Assistant Professor, School of Law, University of Warwick. Jennifer Allsopp is PhD candidate in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention and Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. Maria Giovanna Manieri is Programme Officer, Platform for International Cooperation of Undocumented Migrants (PICUM). Michele LeVoy is Director, Platform for International Cooperation of Undocumented Migrants, PICUM). Mirja Gutheil and Ms Aurelie Heetman are Optimity Advisors, London.

This report was commissioned by the Civil Liberties and Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament and can also be downloaded from the Parliament’s website: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/supporting-analyses-search.html


About the Authors


  • Author
    Sergio Carrera Sergio Carrera
    Sergio Carrera
  • Author
    Elspeth Guild
    Elspeth Guild
  • Author
    Ana Aliverti
    Ana Aliverti
  • Author
    Jennifer Allsopp
    Jennifer Allsopp
  • Author
    Maria Giovanna Manieri
    Maria Giovanna Manieri
  • Author
    Michele LeVoy
    Michele LeVoy
Fit for purpose?The Facilitation Directive and the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants
Download Publication

2697 Downloads