EU seeks to move 40,000 refugees to north from Greece, Italy [Video]

The European Commission proposed easing the impact of the Mediterranean migration crisis on Greece and Italy by moving 40,000 refugees to countries further north.

The proposal looked set to trigger a fight among European governments over the influx of migrants from the Middle East and northern Africa. Many northern countries are uneasy with quotas and Britain has shunned them altogether.

The policy includes “immediate measures to prevent human tragedies and to deal with emergencies” and a “new strategic approach to manage migration better in the medium to long term,” the commission said in a statement on Wednesday in Brussels.

Syria’s civil war and Libya’s chaos have driven migration to Europe to levels not seen since the early 1990s after the fall of communism. EU governments took in 185,000 asylum seekers in 2014, an increase of almost 50 percent from 2013.

Italy and Greece are the first port of call for thousands who make their way across the Mediterranean Sea, often loaded onto rickety boats by human-trafficking gangs operating out of Libya.

The commission, which supervises common EU policies, proposed a budget of 6,000 euros ($6,500) per refugee to pay for relocation and housing. The proposals require approval by EU governments. [Bloomberg]

[Video by Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters]

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