France, Germany to take 21,000 migrants

Disagreements remain among EU nations over how to share responsibility for the refugees and asylum seekers


Afp July 09, 2015
A makeshift camp set up by a group of migrants who were denied entry into France is seen on June 22, 2015 in Ventimiglia near the Italian-French border post. PHOTO: AFP

LUXEMBOURG: France and Germany agreed Thursday to accept some 21,000 asylum-seekers and refugees as part of EU efforts to deal with the flood of migrants seeking refuge from conflicts across North Africa and the Middle East.

EU leaders agreed last month to take in 60,000 people over the next two years but on a voluntary basis after many member states objected strongly to proposed mandatory quotas.

The figures comprise 40,000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum-seekers already in Europe who will be redistributed across the 28-nation bloc plus another 20,000 Syrians in camps overseas.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and his German counterpart Thomas De Maiziere announced that France would take 9,100 and Germany 12,100.

The two countries had a duty "to offer a dignified welcome to those with refugee status," Cazeneuve said.

At the same time, the countries had set conditions to ensure "that what we are doing out of solidarity (with other EU states) will be sustainable."

He said it was essential that reception points for migrants be beefed up to ensure that genuine asylum seekers are clearly separated out from economic migrants who will be returned home.

Disagreements remain among EU nations over how to share responsibility for the refugees and asylum seekers. Spain and Austria did not want to announce on Thursday what their contribution to the effort would be, European sources said.

Read: Record 137,000 refugees, migrants crossed Mediterranean this year

De Maiziere told reporters in Luxembourg "there are some countries which have problems with the concept and are afraid it will only encourage" more migrants.

Italy, Greece and Malta have borne the brunt of the migrant influx and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has repeatedly urged his European Union peers to do much more to ease the burden.

At the late June leaders summit, Renzi was said to have lashed out at his colleagues after mandatory quotas were rejected, reportedly saying that "If that is your idea of Europe, you can keep it!"

EU president Donald Tusk, a former Polish premier whose country opposed the mandatory quota system, said after the summit that member states would submit their voluntary offers by mid-July.

More than 140,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year, most of them landing in Italy, Greece and Malta.

Thousands more have crossed by land, many reaching Hungary which said last month it would build a four-metre (13-foot) high fence along its border with Serbia to keep them out.

COMMENTS (1)

Gldigger | 5 years ago | Reply Accepting Muslim immigrants has been a disaster for Europe - this will only exacerbate the problem. Why can't Pakistan or some other Muslim nation step up and help these Muslim immigrants? Suspect Europe would even help with the cost.
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ