An aid organisation is calling for “compassion” after EU ministers agreed a controversial deal to redistribute 120,000 migrants among member states.
Euronews correspondent James Franey spoke to Sanj Srikanthan from the International Rescue Committee at the Maximilian refugee camp in Brussels.
It is located just a few kilometres away from where EU leaders were meeting at an emergency migration summit.
James Franey, euronews:
“What is your reaction to the deal struck between EU governments (to relocate 120,000 migrants)?”
Sanj Srikanthan, International Rescue Committee:
“The international rescue committee obviously welcomes what is a significant commitment by the European Union to take those 120,000, but we need to put that in context of four million refugees in the Middle East, half a million in total now in Europe and our concern is for the most vulnerable and whether they are going to be in those quotas.
“But also how the European Union intends to implement a relocation mechanism, especially with some state dissenting.
“How can this be implemented? How do you make a refugee who wants to go to Germany move to Lithuania for instance?”
“Well the European Union has made its commitment and I think there needs to be a process of assessing claims first of all to make sure that they are refugees and are valid under the system to be located within the European Union.
“And then there needs to be a system of compassion to ensure that lost, separated, unaccompanied children are not put in a different country to where their parents are.
“But also to hear valid concerns of those who want to be located in a particular country. The important thing is the commitment to take those 120,000.”
“Do you understand why there has been so much opposition to this scheme, four countries voted against it. Immigration is a thorny issue in Europe at the moment, isn’t it?”
“I know there are concerns from some of the states around cultural identity, around security and they are valid concerns.
“What I would say is that the United States is a good example of a country that resettles 75,000 every year and now possibly more and they have a very sophisticated system of security vetting that the European Union could learn from to ensure that reception is both safe for the refugees, but also secures Europe as well.
“And we need to implement that system. But also Europe is a continent that accepts a huge number of immigrants. Since 2013, 1.7 million people migrated into the European Union.
“The character of the countries in the European Union were not changed by that and it would not be changed by this either.”