EU's Juncker announces compulsory refugee quota plan

European Union Commission Chief, Jean Claude Juncker calls on member states to agree to ‘compulsory’ relocation of 120,000 additional refugees by next week

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Migrants board a train near Gevgelija, Macedonia

Updated Sep 11, 2015

President of the European Union Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, presented the details of the latest mandatory quota plan to resettle 120,000 additional refugees across Europe on Wednesday.

The national quota system is based on each European Union member country’s population, income and unemployment rate.

“There is a lack of Europe in the Europe, and a lack of union, and that has to change,” he said, and added “EU is not in a good place.”



"It is 160,000 that Europe has to take into their arms, this has to be done in a compulsory way. I call on the Council to agree to take 160,000 at the interior ministers' meeting on 14 September," Juncker said.

In his speech, he called on member states to agree to an “emergency relocation system” to spread 120,000 refugees crowded in Hungary, Greece and Italy, similar to the plan that he unveiled in May to take in 40,000 refugees from Italy and Greece.

He said, a permanent emergency relocation system would serve to prevent future crises, refugees breaking  EU immigration laws would be subject to fast-track deportations.

He said, despite the numbers and the frightening situation, it is not the time to take fright, it is time for bold concerted action.

“The right to asylum is one of the most important European values,” he said. Reminding that there were 60 million refugees during the Second World War in Europe and the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the Soviet rule, which caused 200,000 people to flee their homes.

He also stressed that dealing with the crisis is a matter of human dignity and the EU should not have religious priorities when dealing with the crisis.

"There is no religion, there is no belief, there is no philosophy when it comes to refugees," Juncker said "we don't distinguish."

Recently, Australia and  European Union member state Slovakia have stated that they would only accept Christian refugees. On Tuesday a similar statement came from Interior Minister of Cyprus, Socratis Hasikos, on country’s refugee intake priority. He said he would prefer them to be Orthodox Christians because it would be easier for them to adapt to life in a Christian country.

EU Commission Chief Juncker also asked, why Europe is fighting ISIS but can’t accept those fleeing ISIS, in his first EU State of the Union speech. As there have been some accusations that Brussels was not doing its part.  Juncker also pointed out the importance of adaptation to a common asylum system.

Germany and Sweden are already hosting most of the refugees in Europe and they have already agreed on the idea of a compulsory relocation system, similar to those of other European countries such as Italy and France. Spain will soon implement the system as well.

On the other hand, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Slovak Republic stated that compulsory quotas are unacceptable. 

TRTWorld and agencies