The executive body of the EU will propose that member countries share responsibility for housing the thousands of refugees arriving in Europe from across the Mediterranean.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will on Wednesday propose a “mandatory migrant quota system” under which the 28 EU member states will share responsibility for migrants during times of emergency, The Times of London has reported.
“To ensure fair and balanced participation of all member states in this common effort, the EU needs a permanent system for sharing the responsibility for large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers among member states,” the proposal reportedly reads.
The number of refugees sent to each country would be decided according to a “redistribution key” based on GDP, population size, unemployment rate and past numbers of asylum seekers admitted.
Currently, asylum seekers are the responsibility of the country in which they first arrive, meaning countries close to migrant crossing routes, such as Italy, Malta and Greece, have complained of shouldering the bulk of Europe’s refugee crisis.
In addition, Juncker will propose that the EU resettle an extra 20,000 asylum seekers, identified by the UN, a year by 2020, The Times reported.
Britain’s Home Office said the plans were unacceptable and that efforts should focus on stopping people traffickers.
“The UK has a proud history of offering asylum to those who need it most, but we do not believe that a mandatory system of resettlement is the answer,” an official said.
“We will oppose any EU Commission proposals to introduce a non-voluntary quota.”
About 5,000 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe in the past 18 months.