The European Commission is set to discuss a new proposal that would require EU member states to equally share immigrants who come to Europe through the Mediterranean.
The scheme is a direct consequence of the indignation and political controversy that arose after more than 900 people who were crossing the Mediterranean drowned in April. It was the last of a series of tragedies that occurred in Sicily’s Channel involving people fleeing conflicts from Syria, Libya, Somalia and other countries.
Countries such as Italy, Spain and Malta, which are the first – and often the only – ones to deal with the issue have called on stricter aid rules from the European Union to make sure the burden and cost of refugees is equally shared among member states.
Under the new scheme, immigrants would be given legal means to cross Europe without the need to turn to traffickers, while being shared among member states by taking into account factors such as the country’s population, economy and number of asylum seekers previously accepted.
While some countries including Germany, Austria and Italy support the idea, others such as the UK and Eastern European countries oppose the quota system.
A study had previously suggested that 22,000 migrants died trying to reach Europe in the last 14 years, with climate change and extreme weather events becoming a more relevant factor in forcing people to flee their home countries.
Photo: Noborder Network via Flickr
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