“After a heated discussion” on Monday, EU interior ministers have promised that 32,356 asylum seekers (mostly coming from Syria and Eritrea) expected over the next two years will be redistributed from Italy and Greece, writes Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. Despite the fact that this number is 8,000 people less than what was agreed upon at the EU summit in June, the European commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulous calls it “an important and historical step”. He hopes a solution for the remaining group will be found by the end of this year.
Austria and Hungary refuse to accept more refugees, while Poland, Spain, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will take on less than the Commission planned. Only positive exceptions are Germany (it will accept 10,500 people, while the Commission had proposed a quota of 8,763) and Ireland, which, despite an opt-in on justice and home affairs issues, has accepted to take on 600 refugees.
The plan to redistribute 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states was proposed after the unprecedented migrant shipwreck in the Mediterranean in April that left nearly 800 people dead.