Migrant crisis: EU announces refugee quota plan

Berlin, Sep 9 (IANS) European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has announced plans that will offer a “swift, determined and comprehensive” response to Europe’s migrant crisis.

Under the proposals, 120,000 additional asylum seekers will be distributed among EU nations with binding quotas, BBC reported.

Germany, the main destination for many migrants, supports quotas but some EU countries oppose a compulsory system.

France welcomed the first of 1,000 migrants it has pledged to take from Germany, having committed to receive 24,000 migrants over two years.

In a separate development Australia, which has been under pressure to do more to help displaced people, has announced plans to take in 12,000 Syrian refugees.

Juncker’s plans were set out in a “state of the union” annual address in which he outlined the priorities of the European Commission.

Juncker admitted the EU was “not in a good situation… There is a lack of Europe in this union, and a lack of union in this union”.

He said tackling the crisis was “a matter of humanity and human dignity”.

In Juncker’s proposal EU members will accept an additional 120,000 refugees, building upon proposed quotas to relocate 40,000 refugees.

A permanent relocation system will be developed to “deal with crisis situations more swiftly in the future”.

“Europeans have to take 160,000 refugees in total,” he said.

The new plans would relocate 60 percent of those now in Italy, Greece and Hungary to Germany, France and Spain.

The numbers distributed to each country would depend on GDP, population, unemployment rate and asylum applications already processed.

Germany has welcomed Syrian migrants and said it expects to deal with 800,000 asylum seekers this year alone — though not all will qualify as refugees and some will be sent back.

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