Ger­many and France de­mand al­ter­ations to refugee-shar­ing plans


France and Ger­many have come out against new pro­pos­als to share out refugees ar­riv­ing in Italy and Greece with the rest of the Euro­pean Union, in­sist­ing on Mon­day that the plan doesn’t take fair ac­count of the num­ber of refugees they al­ready take on.

The EU’s ex­ec­u­tive Com­mis­sion has a plan to deal with 40,000 Syr­ian and Eritrean refugees over the next two years, many of whom ar­rive fol­low­ing a per­ilous sea cross­ing. The sys­tem would see France and Ger­many host many of them.

The French and Ger­man in­te­rior min­is­ters said in a state­ment that the for­mula “should take more prop­erly into ac­count the ef­forts al­ready made by mem­ber states re­gard­ing in­ter­na­tional pro­tec­tion, and other forms of as­sis­tance.”

They also said that front- line coun­tries like Italy and Greece can only ex­pect sol­i­dar­ity from their part­ners if they “take all the legal and fi­nan­cial mea­sures needed” to beef up the EU’s bor­ders to the out­side world.

Italy and Greece have been ac­cused by some EU coun­tries of fail­ing to prop­erly screen newly ar­rived mi­grants, in­stead sim­ply al­low­ing them to move fur­ther north into Europe.

The Com­mis­sion will also pro­pose a per­ma­nent refugee- re­lo­ca­tion sys­tem at the end of this year for use dur­ing high migration flows. The two min­is­ters in­sisted that it should “re­main tem­po­rary and ex­cep­tional.”

Re­act­ing to their state­ment, EU migration spokes­woman Natasha Ber­taud said that the Com­mis­sion is “of course ready to dis­cuss the de­tails” of its plans with the 28 mem­ber states.

Mon­day sees the start of a two- day meet­ing be­tween the min­is­ters and their coun­ter­parts from Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK, as well as se­nior U. S. and EU of­fi­cials, in eastern Ger­many.

The Com­mis­sion’s refugee pro­pos­als must be en­dorsed by mem­ber na­tions and the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

Mean­while, the EU’s Fron­tex bor­der agency said on Sun­day that more than 5,000 mi­grants aboard 25 boats com­ing from Libya had been plucked from the cen­tral Mediter­ranean in three days. Seven­teen bod­ies were re­cov­ered.

“This is the big­gest wave of mi­grants we have seen in 2015,” Fron­tex Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Fabrice Leg­geri said.

More than 36,000 mi­grants have ar­rived in Italy since Jan­uary. The In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Migration es­ti­mates that 1,820 peo­ple have died or gone miss­ing cross­ing the Mediter­ranean this year.

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