France, Germany to shelter Mediterranean refugees

France and Germany volunteer to shelter 21,000 refugees and asylum seekers

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Following a ministerial meeting held in Luxembourg, Germany and France have decided to put into action a EU plan to deal with the migrant flood in Europe and distribute 21,000 asylum seekers and refugees in Europe who who escaped from wars and poverty across the Union.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that Germany will take 12,100 refugees and France will take 9,100.

Cazeneuve said that both countries have to "offer a dignified welcome to those with refugee status." He added that the plan should be sustainable for the other EU states as well.

Cazeneuve also stressed that “genuine asylum seekers” should be prioritised over economic migrants.

De Maiziere said “There are some countries which have problems with the [migrant] concept and are afraid it will only encourage more migrants.”

"Some countries want to make a commitment only in the coming days, with other countries we will still have to hold discussions," de Maiziere added.

The executive body of the European Commission is expected to propose a “mandatory migrant quota system” to EU member states on Wednesday in the fight against the migrant crisis, which has claimed the lives of almost 2,000 people crossing the Mediterranean since the start of this year.

The quotas are to be based on a “redistribution key” taking into consideration each EU country’s population size, unemployment rate and number of asylum seekers previously accepted.

The call for such as system came after more than 1,800 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year.

On April 23 the European Union decided to increase patrols in the Mediterranean Sea against human trafficking, following the deaths of more than 800 migrants on April 20.

According to the EU, 140,000 people have tried to cross the Mediterranean this year with the aim of reaching Italy, Greece and Malta.

60,000 of those who tried to enter the EU were from Syria and Eritrea.

TRTWorld and agencies