The European Union announced their plan on Wednesday to resettle 50,000 refugees directly from war-torn countries into Europe in its latest bid to stabilize migration to the bloc.
The European Commission says it has set aside 500million euros to find homes for refugees mostly from Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Chad, and Ethiopia. It also wants to encourage private sponsorship schemes to help migrants avoid people smugglers and come to Europe legally.
The initiative comes as Jean-Claude Junker, the European Commission president, tries to take the lead on addressing the migration crisis amid continued squabbling between EU member states over migration burden sharing. (Video Below)
EU’s migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said, “People who are in genuine need of protection should not risk their lives or depend on smugglers.” Highlighting that Europe has to show its preparedness in sharing responsibility with third countries, particularly in Africa.
The new scheme will be in place until October 2019 and will build on the current successful resettlement schemes, which are now coming to an end.
A two-year programme, which finishes on Wednesday relocated 29,000 asylum seekers out of a planned 160,000 as nations such as Hungary and Slovakia refused to co-operate. Britain is not involved in the scheme.
Commission Vice-President Federica Mogherini said the policy ‘is about managing one of the most complex, structural phenomena of our times, not a temporary emergency. ‘
The Commission is also pushing EU member states to maintain the spirit of its passport-free Schengen travel area which has come under pressure from the twin threats of migration and terror.
Avramopoulos said that from November there would be “stricter” requirements on states wanting to introduce temporary border checks during times of emergency, limiting the checks to a maximum of three years.
The new restrictions could put officials in Brussels on a collision course with France and Germany, who wanted the period to be extended to up to four years.
The Commission also wants to extend the 26-member zone to Romania and Bulgaria, telling EU member states it was “high time” they were admitted to the zone.
Germany diplomatic sources expressed doubt that Bulgaria and Romania were capable of maintaining an external border. However, Avramopoulos said failure to live up to the ideal of the Schengen zone posed a potentially existential threat to the concept of the European Union’s freedom of movement of goods, services, and people.