Saturday

16th Dec 2017

EU: boat-sinking Yes, migrant quotas No

  • EU foreign affairs chief Mogherini and its top military official, Patrick de Rousiers, in Brussels on Monday (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

France and Poland on Monday (18 May) restated strong opposition to EU proposals on migrant relocation quotas, despite Italian appeals.

French EU affairs minister Harlem Desir told media in Brussels that “France is against this proposal of quotas for handling irregular migrants in Europe”.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He said international law requires countries to evaluate each person’s asylum claim on individual merit instead of treating them in bulk.

“The proposal made by the European Commission must be discussed, but we don’t support the idea of quotas, which don’t correspond to the [international] rules. We need solidarity, responsibility, and respect for the rules.”

The Polish foreign affairs minister, Grzegorz Schetyna, said the commission idea “has not been taken up with any enthusiasm” in the EU Council.

He said it goes against the conclusions of an emergency EU summit on migration, held last month, which opted to uphold Dublin - the old agreement that the country where an asylum seeker enters the EU is responsible for their claim.

He noted that he’s spoken with more than 10 of his EU counterparts, adding “I don’t think it’ll [the quota plan] be accepted by a majority of countries”.

Their remarks come after the French PM, Manuel Valls, and Polish leader, Ewa Kopacz, spoke out against the quotas over the weekend.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the UK have also criticised it.

But for his part, Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni told press on Monday: “I really hope that we don’t take steps backward compared to the commission's proposals … It would be very bitter if there were steps backwards”.

Italy’s interior minister, Angelino Alfano, added in an interview with Italian press : “I don’t think the EU commission would have ventured into such a choice if it hadn’t had some sense of the willingness of [EU] states to proceed.”

The Irish foreign minister, Charles Flanagan, also said his country is ready to “play its part” in sharing the burden.

Italy, together with Bulgaria, Greece, and Malta are on the front line of the EU migrant crisis.

The commission last week said asylum claims should be allocated to member states on basis of population and GDP size, as well as unemployment rates and numbers of claimants already hosted.

Its estimate is that Germany would take the most, on 18.42 percent of all claims, followed by France on 14.17 percent, and Italy on 11.84 percent.

Military operation

EU foreign ministers on Monday did voice support for a parallel plan to start sinking migrant-smugglers' boats in a new military operation, to be called EU Navfor Med.

The meeting in Brussels is expected to give a preliminary green light, pending final agreement by EU leaders next month, as well as the say-so of Libyan authorities and the UN Security Council.

UK foreign minister Philip Hammond said: “We have to deal with criminal trafficking gangs … we have to work with Libya to stop embarkation”.

France’s Desir noted that after people are rescued the boats’ motors should be “destroyed”. He added the EU should help police in Niger to intercept migrants en route to embarkation points.

The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, also present Monday, said the military alliance is “ready to help” the EU “if it is requested”.

"One of the problems is that there might be foreign fighters, there might be terrorists trying to hide, trying to blend in among the migrants," he said.

“This underlines the importance that we have to respond”.

France opposes EU migrant quotas

France and Poland have joined a growing list of EU states opposed to the European Commission's migrant quota proposal.

Thousands of migrants rescued in Mediterranean

Thousands of people in rickety boats and rubber dinghies in the Mediterranean were rescued over the weekend in one of the largest life-saving operations to date led by Italy’s coastguard.

Analysis

Migration plan: Juncker's gamble

Juncker's migration proposal is the first clear sign that he's willing to challenge member states, but has he overplayed his hand?

Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants

Germany's spy agency says the Chinese state is trying to recruit high-ranking German officials via social media outlets like LinkedIn. It accused Chinese intelligence of setting up fake profiles to lure them into becoming informants.

News in Brief

  1. EU adopts 'track-and-trace' tobacco system
  2. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  3. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  4. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  5. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  6. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  7. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  8. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Catalonia, Brexit, and Uber on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Macron and Merkel take tough line on Poland
  3. Eurozone future needs structural reforms, EU leaders told
  4. Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June
  5. EU stresses unity as it launches next phase of Brexit talks
  6. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  7. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  8. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  2. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  3. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity
  6. Union for the MediterraneanMediterranean Countries Commit to Strengthening Women's Role in Region
  7. Bio-Based IndustriesRegistration for BBI JU Stakeholder Forum about to close. Last chance to register!
  8. European Heart NetworkThe Time Is Ripe for Simplified Front-Of-Pack Nutrition Labelling
  9. Counter BalanceNew EU External Investment Plan Risks Sidelining Development Objectives
  10. EU2017EEEAS Calls for Eastern Partnership Countries to Enter EU Market Through Estonia
  11. Dialogue PlatformThe Turkey I No Longer Know
  12. World Vision7 Million Children at Risk in the DRC: Donor Meeting to Focus on Saving More Lives