EU fails to come up with resettlement plans for refugees 

Photo: UNHCR

July 9, Oslo: European Union ministers have failed to come up with a resettlement plan for the 40,000 refugees after divisions arose on how to respond to the refugee crisis.

“The debate we’ve had today has been difficult. It’s a very sensitive issue,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, whose country hosted Thursday’s ministerial meeting, told AP, adding the European ministers failed to reach an agreement on how to divide 20,000 refugees, many of whom are from Syria.

In fact according to a report by the UNHCR, the large majority of the 137,000 people who crossed the Mediterranean sea into Europe during the first six months of 2015 were fleeing from war, conflict or persecution, making the Mediterranean crisis primarily a refugee crisis, a UNHCR report concludes.

According to the report, one third of the men, women and children who arrived by sea in Italy or Greece were from Syria, whose nationals are almost universally deemed to qualify for refugee status or other forms of protection. The second and third most common countries of origin are Afghanistan and Eritrea, whose nationals are also mostly considered to qualify for refugee status.

“As Europe debates the best way to deal with the rising crisis on the Mediterranean, we must be clear: most of the people arriving by sea in Europe are refugees, seeking protection from war and persecution,” said António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Southern European nations, in particular Italy, Greece, Malta and Spain — the most common points of arrival for the refugees — have sought assistance from their northern neighbors in dealing with their resettlement. The EU has proposed a quota system, backed by southern nations, which would see other EU nations commit to resettle a certain number of refugees who arrive from Mediterranean countries. The plan, however,  has been met with resistance from countries like the UK and Germany.

The Oslo Times

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