EU countries stalemate over migration relocation plans

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By Elena Cavallone
EU countries stalemate over migration relocation plans
Copyright  REUTERS

After another tragic shipwreck in the central Mediterranean EU minsters gathered in Luxembourg to agree on a temporary system to relocate migrants rescued at sea. Member states have shown divisions over the possibility to host asylum seekers arriving in Italy and Malta.

Dying in the Mediterranean: a risk that thousand of migrants have faced in their bid to reach Europe. According to the IOM in the last 6 years more than 15.000 people have lost their lives in shipwrecks.

It is the most dangerous route for those who escape from inhumane treatment in Libya in the search of a better life.

With Italy and Malta overloaded with asylum requests, the countries have asked the EU to find a way to share the burden.

But Europe finds itself divided again. In Luxembourg EU interior ministers discussed the possibility of extending the temporary deal to relocate migrants agreed between Italy, France, Germany and Malta in September.

Countries from eastern Europe - known as the Visegrad group - oppose to any relocation, and Greece emphasized that it is facing a rise in arrivals of refugees from Turkey.

“We cannot ask Greece to take refugees also from the Central Mediterranean. Visegrad countries are not willing to receive refugees but as we hear there are other ways to show solidarity, with personnel and financing," German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told reporters.

The mechanism has just a six-month lifespan. It covers the redistribution of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean with a quota system for the countries that join. It also aims to reduce the time for transfer of migrants to destination countries to 4 weeks.

After the last shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa Monday, member states were urged to work together to find a solution.

This is just a first test of solidarity among member states - the real test will be the revision of the common asylum system. The European Commission is expected to present a new migration pact, as promised by the elected president, Ursula Von der Leyen.