The Louise Michel is the humanitarian rescue ship saving lives in the Mediterranean. Financed by the artist Banksy, it has found a safe port in Sicily.
The much awaited European plan on refugees
The President of the European Commission, Juncker, has outlined Europe’s plan to deal with the refugee crisis. 28 EU ministers will deliberate on it next week.
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, held his first speech on the State of the Union the 8th of September. He spoke to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, tackling the humanitarian crisis which sees hundreds of thousands of refugees crowding Europe’s southern borders.
In his speech he outlined the Commission’s plan on how to deal with 160,000 asylum seekers coming from countries of the Middle East and North Africa, Syria in particular, who now find themselves in Italy, Greece and Hungary. Member states will be assigned binding quotas establishing the number of refugees they’ll have to take in.
The European Parliament approved Juncker’s proposal with 423 votes in favour, 142 against and 57 abstentions. An emergency meeting will be held in Brussels, Belgium, on the 14th of September: 28 EU ministers of the Interior will decide whether to accept the system of compulsory quotas proposed by Juncker.
The main points of Juncker’s plan
- The redistribution will be financed by the European Commission. Each country will receive 6,000 euros for each person they take in. Italy, Greece and Hungary will be assigned 500 euros per person to cover the costs of transport to other European countries. The plan’s overall budget is estimated at around 780 million euros.
- The proposal concerns only those refugees currently in Italy, Greece and Hungary. Each person will undergo an initial screening, including finger-print registration and verification of origin.
- Only those whose nationality guarantees them political refugee status in the EU, namely Syrians, Iraqis and Eritreans, will be transferred. Every three months the list of nationalities that are guaranteed this status will be revised.
- The EU will increase aid to those countries of the Middle East and North Africa where most refugees have escaped to.
Jucnker underlined how the plan is “modest” compared to the gravity of the situation. He also pointed out that many lives would have been saved if European leaders had accepted previous plans proposed by the EU.
Almost 500,000 refugees have reached Europe since the beginning of 2015, equivalent to 0.11% of the Union’s total population. Nothing compared to the situation faced by Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, currently hosting around four million refugees, as pointed out by Juncker.
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