EU leaders fail to resolve dispute over migrant quotas

BRUSSELS– EU leaders concluded their two-day summit Friday afternoon without being able to solve the contentious issue of mandatory quotas for migrants in the EU.

“The dispute around mandatory quotas is not over yet, but I hope that with yesterday’s debate, we have managed to clear the air. Now we need to work hard to find a compromise by June,” President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, told a press conference after the meeting.

In 2015, a majority of EU states had voted in favour of a legally-binding mandatory quota rule for a two-year relocation scheme to distribute asylum seekers staying in Italy and Greece to other EU member states.

Four EU countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, known as the ‘Visegrad Four’, have rejected the mandatory quota rules.

The quota rule was aimed to relocate 160,000 migrants, but the number was later reduced to less than 100,000. Till date only about 35,000 refugees have been considered eligible for relocation.

On his part, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, told the joint press conference that “the problem is not the mandatory relocation of refugees. But the problem is the relocation.” He said the European Commission had proposed to relocate on a voluntary basis 40,000 refugees to other EU countries but only 7,000 were invited by other EU Member States to be relocated.

Source: Kuwait News Agency