EU said nearing political accord to take in 160,000 refugees

EU said nearing political accord to take in 160,000 refugees

European Union governments are likely to agree in principle to shelter 160,000 refugees from crisis zones in the Middle East and Africa, an EU official said.

Interior ministers on Monday will sign off on existing proposals to harbor 40,000 asylum-seekers and broadly assent to newer plans to take in 120,000 more, the official told reporters in Brussels on Friday under condition of anonymity.

Germany, France and Spain would take the biggest numbers. Potential opposition by eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic or Poland would leave the EU short of the target by 15,000 to 20,000.

Some countries may eventually accept higher-than-planned numbers to make up for the shortfalls, the official said. EU governments aim for a final agreement on the quotas at a subsequent meeting on Oct. 8.

Under the emergency program, refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea will be shunted elsewhere in the 28- nation EU after entering the bloc in Greece, Hungary and Italy.

Britain and Denmark invoked their special rights under European law to stay out of the system. Ireland, which enjoys the same exemption, said on Thursday that it will house 3,500.

Monday’s meeting starts at 3 p.m. in Brussels and will run into late evening.


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