Britain not to back refugee quota system of EU

Britain refuses refugee quotas proposed by EU as immigrant crisis remains top issue on European agenda

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Britain announced on Tuesday it would not take part in the EU emergency resettlement plan which aims relocation of refugees using country quotas.

The regulation to be unveiled by European Commission on Wednesday imposes migrant quotas on the 28 countries of the Union, based on criterias such as economic, health, and population.

British Home Office (Interior Ministry) said it won't stick to the EU’s plan and also deny to take part in any future plan to resettle refugees from abroad.

The Home Office added that it is proud of opening country’s door in the past for asylum seekers who are in difficult situation.

“But we do not believe that a mandatory system of resettlement is the answer. We will oppose any EU commission proposals to introduce a non-voluntary quota,” a Home Office statement said.

According to the UN, about 60,000 people tried to cross the Mediterranean last year.

Amnesty International also says more than 18,000 migrants have lost their life in the Mediterranean Sea as they have been forced to travel under miserable circumstances.

As Germany, Italy and Malta support the idea of the quota system, other EU members, such as Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia have rejected the idea.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said, “Asylum is not an act of mercy but a human right," while Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called it “a crazy idea.”

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said: "We must work with the countries of origin to distinguish between illegal immigration and asylum ... and reform the asylum politics of France."

“Some member states have already made a major contribution to resettlement efforts. But others offer nothing,” according to a EU commission paper.

It is also signalled in the paper that Europe has to work out on legal ways for immigrants to enter the country safely.

“Such vulnerable people cannot be left to resort to the criminal networks of smugglers and traffickers. There must be safe and legal ways for them to reach the EU,” the document says.

Decision of the Home Office was criticised by the British refugee organisations.

“It is shameful that the British government seems eager to opt out of doing the right thing by some of the world’s most desperate people,” Anna Musgrave of the Refugee Council said.

TRTWorld and agencies