The executive body of the European Union will propose setting new migrant quotas that would require the EU’s 28 member nations to share the responsibility of housing thousands of refugees making the perilous crossing into Europe.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is set to formally unveil the proposal, which calls for a "mandatory migrant quota system," on Wednesday, the Times reported Monday, according to Agence France-Presse.
"To ensure a fair and balanced participation of all member states to this common effort ... the EU needs a permanent system for sharing the responsibility for large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers among member states," the proposal reportedly said. The specific role each country would play will be determined by a “redistribution key” system set in Brussels. Under the current system, asylum seekers are the responsibility of the country where they reach.
The plan has the support of Germany and many other EU members, but is strongly opposed by the U.K. The country’s home office said on Sunday that it would oppose the proposal. “The U.K. 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. We will oppose any EU commission proposals to introduce a non-voluntary quota,” a spokesman said on Sunday night, according to the Guardian.
The plan was also condemned by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. “The European concept of ‘someone letting immigrants into their country’ and then ‘distributing’ them among the other member states is a mad and unfair idea,” the Guardian quoted him as saying.
The proposal document, however, criticized the uncoordinated response from European nations and called for a unified front to tackle the problem. “Some member states have already made a major contribution to [refugee] resettlement efforts. But others offer nothing,” the proposal said, according to the Guardian.
The move comes amid other plans to tackle Europe’s unprecedented migrant crisis, which has seen over 1,700 deaths in 2015 alone. On Monday, EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini will ask the U.N. Security Council for authorization to use force against human trafficking boats operating out of Libya, BBC reported.