Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News World

EU refugee quota scheme unravels

Published 08/05/2015

Migrants are seated, surrounded by emergency relief workers, on a vessel at the Italian port of Messina. (AP)
Migrants are seated, surrounded by emergency relief workers, on a vessel at the Italian port of Messina. (AP)

European Union plans to introduce a quota system obliging countries to share the burden of settling refugees unravelled today as member nations began rejecting the scheme.

Slovakia and Estonia were among those to publicly object to a quota system, which would require unanimous agreement among the 28 EU nations.

"The Slovak Interior Ministry currently refuses binding quotas on migrants," it said in a statement.

Estonia said it prefers voluntary relocation and resettlement for refugees.

The European Commission was aiming to propose the plan next Wednesday as part of a strategy to cope with thousands of migrants fleeing conflict for better lives in Europe.

A handful of countries including Germany, Sweden and France are struggling under the massive migrant influx and quotas were seen as one way to enforce solidarity on their reluctant EU partners.

"We need a binding solidarity mechanism that allows for the fair distribution of asylum seekers among member states once a certain threshold has been reached," said a lead EU policymaker on migration, Roberta Metsola.

"This is not a challenge that Italy or Malta or Greece should face alone."

EU leaders paid lip service to the notion of burden-sharing earlier this month at a hastily called summit meant to address migrant deaths in the Mediterranean.

More than 10,000 migrants have been rescued recently in a virtual flotilla of unseaworthy boats. About 1,700 are feared dead.

EU leaders offered short-term use of ships, planes and other assets to help stem the tide, as well as extra funding for the EU border effort.

But away from the media spotlight, weak economies, public opposition to migration and election campaigns mean that real solidarity remains elusive.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph