Date
22 September 2017
EC President Jean-Claude Juncker says the refugee distribution plan does not go far enough given the gravity of the crisis. Photo: www.zeit.de
EC President Jean-Claude Juncker says the refugee distribution plan does not go far enough given the gravity of the crisis. Photo: www.zeit.de

EU presents plan to distribute refugees across bloc

European Union countries are being asked to redistribute 160,000 refugees among themselves in a long-awaited plan that is already being criticised as not going far enough.

The EU executive committee’s proposal first gained support among the biggest countries that must vote to adopt it, but its author is skeptical about its success, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Previous EU attempts to craft a coherent approach to the crisis have sputtered amid competing national interests and insistence by some countries that accepting refugees should be voluntary.

Support for the common and binding burden-sharing plan is growing, propelled by public outcry after 71 migrants were found dead in a truck in Austria last month and images of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy went viral last week.

The new plan still has to be approved by a so-called qualified majority of EU governments, in which bigger countries have weightier votes.

With the four largest countries involved — Germany, France, Spain and Italy — in favor, the odds that the proposal would be adopted.

The plan is the second attempt by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to help Greece, Italy and Hungary, the three countries on the front line of the crisis.

“I do believe that given the gravity of the situation we face, this proposal is quite modest,” Juncker said at a news conference.

He said nearly 500,000 people have made their way to Europe in the past year.

Juncker said that even more modest plans were rejected by EU leaders and that if “we had taken decisions back then, perhaps we would have saved a lot of lives”.

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