26th July 2015

EU struggles to agree on asylum seekers resettlement

On Monday 20 July, EU ministers in charge of internal security failed again to agree on the resettlement of 40 000 asylum seekers already in the EU. This figure, together with the 20 000 of those incoming in the next months, was agreed by the European Council in June, but the resettlement key itself was made voluntary. Many states agreed to accept more asylum seekers, than the Commission calculated for them. This, together with the help of non-EU countries (Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland), helped to meet the 20 000 target – in fact EU countries, together with non-EU partners, will resettle more than 22 000 refugees incoming e.g. from Turkish refugee camps over the next months. The second number, however, was not reached. The countries promised to resettle some 32 000 of those already in Italy or in Greece, 8 000 less than the target. Some countries proposed embarrassingly low numbers, according to the Commission and to the Luxembourg presidency of the Council. Spain, Poland and Slovakia are among them. Hungary refused to take any new incoming asylum seekers. The Council wants nevertheless to have the 40 000 number met by the end of the year. According to the Commission, this failure shows how voluntary mechanisms do not work. It will therefore propose a permanent resettlement solution in the following months.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic