boat people italyForming the so-called Mediterranean migration route, the EU MS of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain receive the highest proportion of migration flows at the EU external borders.

Consequently, as becomes clear in reports on human rights violations, growing racism and xenophobia in times of harsh economic crisis, their governments experience difficulties in dealing with mixed migration flows and the lack of specific national capacities to deal with foreign populations, including culturally sensitive systems for fast reception and referral.

Several key actors have raised concerns regarding the health care services, as for example the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Doctors of the World, and the World Health Organization (WHO), that, for example, the migrant facilities at the Greek border areas lack basic sanitary and medical care amenities, including substandard hygiene conditions, especially overcrowding and lack of personal hygiene facilities, lack of basic supplies, and lack of access to fresh air and physical exercise. Similarly as to migrants facilities of Italy and Malta, where the insufficient health, legal, social and psychological assistance are reported to impoverish the already fragile health of migrants, arriving to Europe often after long periods of travel. Furthermore, the functional and organizational problems in facilities, including mixing different categories of people in cramped conditions including vulnerable persons in need of help, the lack of information on the legal status and proceedings and the lack of interpreters are further challenging the situation at the southern European borders. An added value of the intervention will be the shifted focus from the traditional control-focused approaches, replacing them with a human rights-based approach to migration health.

The project builds upon a number of consolidated EU policy developments, such as Decision No 2119/98/EC On the setting up a network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases in the Community; Decision 2000/57/EC On the early warning and response system for the prevention and control of communicable diseases; Council Directive 2003/9/EC of 27 January 2003 laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers; and the Commission Communication COM (2011) 292 of 24 May 2011 A dialogue for migration, mobility and security with the southern Mediterranean countries.