The European Commission is considering “a mandatory migrant quota system” for all EU Member States. The system will define the responsibilities for the EU countries during the times of emergency and will guarantee that all Member States participate in the joint effort to deal with the illegal migrant crisis. The number of refugees that each member should absorb should depend on GDP, population size, past numbers of asylum seekers, and unemployment – jointly called a “redistribution key”.
Under current rules, asylum seekers are the responsibility of the Member States in which they arrive, which in reality means that countries like Malta, Greece, or Italy face most of the burden. It then hardly comes as a surprise that these countries were most vocal in complaining that they shoulder most of the EU’s refugee crisis. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had already earlier suggested that the current system needed changes. Germany and Sweden are among the countries, which accept large numbers of asylum seekers. Mrs Merkel specifically called for changes in the asylum management system aiming to distribute asylum seekers more fairly throughout the block.
However, Member States are not very keen on accepting a greater share of responsibility. They are planning a pilot project to bring in refugees and resettle them around the continent trying to achieve a broader distribution. While Member States are likely to consider voluntary schemes to help southern countries, they will likely oppose mandatory rules.
Britain’s Home Office has already commented that a mandatory system of resettlement is not the answer. The Office said it would oppose any proposal to introduce mandatory quota despite the fact that “the UK has a proud history of offering asylum to those who need it most”. The newly re-elected Prime Minister, David Cameron, had already earlier promised that his party would cut the net migration to less than 100,000 a year even though it has reportedly soared to nearly three times that level.