In an effort to provide a solution to the hundreds of migrants who are losing their lives in the Mediterranean Sea, the European Commission has announced that they will allow 20,000 refugees in to Europe over the next two years in addition to other measures, reports the BBC.
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Ever since last month’s boat capsizing, where at least 750 migrants lost their lives at sea, European officials have been put under intense pressure by the international community to act against the lives that are being needlessly lost.
Therefore, the European Commission has created the “European Agenda on Migration,” which includes a number of policy guidelines on the contentious issue.
For the aforementioned proposed quota system, the 20,000 migrants (or “distribution key”) would be split among Germany (18.4 percent), France (14 percent), Italy (11.8 percent), the U.K. (11.5 percent), and Spain (9 percent).
Ireland and Denmark are exempt from the quota.
With countries, such as the U.K., insisting that the Commission focus their efforts on bringing human traffickers to justice, the European Union (EU) is also considering using naval action against boats that are trafficking migrants.
This option, however, would require UN Security Council authorization.
The EU is also looking to intercept traffickers’ boats in migrant hotspot Libya by working with officials.
Not surprisingly, the plan already has its critics, including U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May who says it will encourage — rather than discourage — migrants to make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.
But EU Foriegn Policy Chief Federica Mogherini promptly responded in the Times Newspaper to May, insisting that only asylum seekers would be allowed in to Europe and that the policy would not be an “open door” one for all migrants.
“If people don’t have a right to asylum they should be sent back as swiftly as possible — we do agree…. Return is an integral part of our plan, a cornerstone.”
So far, 60,000 people have tried to cross the sea this year, with 1,800 migrants of that number perishing.