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Mediterranean Migrants EU proposes assigning migrant quota to member countries

In determining the quotas, a number of factors would be considered, including a country's population, economic indicators and the number of asylum seekers previously accepted.

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play About 60,000 people have attempted to cross the Mediterranean into Europe this year (BBC)

In view of the increasing number of migrants seeking asylum in Europe, with many drowning in the Mediterranean while making the dangerous cross, the European Commission is set to make the controversial proposal that EU member countries should take in refugees under a quota scheme.

According to BBC, the European Commission's migration policy, which will be announced on Wednesday, will also propose organising legal means for migrants to come to Europe so they do not turn to traffickers.

It will, however, need to be agreed by EU states during a summit at the end of June.

In determining the quotas, a number of factors would be considered, including a country's population, economic indicators and the number of asylum seekers previously accepted.

So far, the EU seems divided on the position, while some countries welcome the move, others such as Hungary have dismissed it as "a crazy idea".

The UK has also expressed opposition to the idea with a UK government spokesman saying:

"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. We will oppose any EU Commission proposals to introduce a non-voluntary quota."

Also leaders in Slovakia and Estonia have also objected to a quota system.

On the flip side though, Germany keenly supports the idea of quotas, having received 200,000 asylum applications last year.

Also countries such as Italy and Malta, where large numbers of migrants arrive by boat, have also called for EU members to share responsibility for migrants more evenly.

According to UN estimates, 60,000 people have already tried to cross the Mediterranean this year, with over 1,800 having died in the process.

play The conditions of the Libyan migrant detention camp have been described as appalling (BBC)

 

Last year, over 200,000 migrants fleeing conflict or poverty from countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Nigeria and Somalia are believed to have made the Mediterranean cross, again with thousands dying in the process.

Thus, the measures proposed by the EC are the latest in a series of steps designed to stop migrants drowning in the Mediterranean.

In the meantime,  the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, is set to today (Monday) ask the UN Security Council to permit the use of force against people traffickers operating out of Libya.

The move comes as a result of statements from surviving migrants who allege that people smugglers are systematically abusing them.

They also say that conditions in Libyan migrant detention centres are often appalling. But the Libyan government has opposed the use of force against traffickers operating out of the country saying its government has not been consulted by the European Union.

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