European Council on Refugees and Exiles ECRE

  • Working Together to Protect and Respect Refugees: ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles) is a pan-European network of 69 refugee-assisting non-governmental organisations that promotes a humane and generous European asylum policy.
  • Together with our members, we promote the protection and integration of asylum-seekers, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) based on values of human dignity, human rights and an ethic of solidarity. (About).
  • See ECRE also on wikipedia.

Vision,values; Projects; Our people; Members; Membership; Topics; Resources; Advocacy Network; Donors;
Address: ECRE, Secretariat, Rue Royale 146, 2nd Floor, 1000 Brussels, Belgium;

What We Do: ECRE responds to EU and governmental initiatives at EU level. Through our pro-active policy work and research, we encourage new thinking on refugees and asylum in Europe. 

We aim to strengthen contacts between refugee-assisting non-governmental organisations in Europe through networking and by organising different events.

Our goals and activities are decided by the member agencies through recommendations made at annual conferences. These are translated into action by the secretariat and lead agency projects, which are guided by an elected Executive Committee of member agency representatives.

History of ECRE:

ECRE started in 1974 when a handful of directors of Western European refugee support agencies recognised the need for co-operation between states to ensure that refugees were protected in Europe. It started life as the European Consultation on Refugees and Exiles, an informal platform of five refugee assisting NGOs. At the time people were still being forcibly exiled from the Soviet Union and were welcomed by Western Europeans as they arrived across checkpoints along the Berlin wall or upon disembarkation from planes.

In 1984 the Secretariat moved to the UK and the first full-time member of staff was appointed. In 1985 the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA) was created and a steering group, later to become the Executive Committee, was established. In 1992 ECRE began its capacity building work in Central Europe and a year later set up a focus group on South-East Europe. ECRE’s Brussels office was established in 1995 and in 1996 ECRE’s advocacy network (ECRAN) came into existence. The task force on integration was set up in 1997.

ECRE held a landmark meeting parallel to the EU summit in Tampere in 1999 and launched the “Guarding Standards: Shaping the Agenda” campaign. In 2000 ECRE welcomed its first south-east European member agency and the first Russian agency joined in 2003. In 2005 ECRE welcomed a new member agency from Azerbaijan.

Europe has changed dramatically since 1974 and today many of the hopes of the original founders of ECRE have been realised. However, not everyone who has come to Europe seeking protection has found it. The current rush to prevent irregular migration has made it virtually impossible for anyone seeking protection to enter Europe by legitimate means. The tragic results of this situation are witnessed on the southern coasts of Europe in the lost lives of those who have attempted to reach Europe in an irregular manner by land or sea. ECRE is therefore as relevant as it was in 1974 and continues its work to promote the rights of asylum seekers and refugees in Europe.

Comments are closed.