Countries divided on EU quota system for refugees

Published May 11th, 2015 - 02:00 GMT

Britain on Monday opposed plans to set national quotas for refugees who seek asylum in the European Union, while France supported the expected proposal by the bloc's executive.

The European Commission plans to propose an EU-wide quota system for migrants as part of its strategy on migration, due to be unveiled on Wednesday, commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announced last month.

Any quota system would require the approval of EU governments. Member states are divided, however, on how best to tackle migration, as more and more people try to reach Europe to escape conflict and persecution, or in search of a better life.

The issue gained new urgency last month, when a boat sank off the coast of Libya with more than 800 migrants on board.

"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," the Home Office said.

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

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said France supports a quota system, adding that the country had proposed such a system in August.

"We must work with the countries of origin to distinguish between illegal immigration and asylum ... and reform the asylum politics of France," Cazeneuve told RTL Radio.

By Jessica Camille Aguirre and Bill Smith

© 2022 dpa GmbH

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