Migration to Europe has caused problems for years, both for migrants making increasingly risky attempts to reach the continent, and for the countries bearing the brunt of the influx. A recent series of particularly terrible shipwrecks, though, has fixed the issue in the public eye, and seems to have galvanized the European Union into developing a better strategy (pdf).
This could include using a quota system (pdf) to resettle 20,000 people “in clear need of international protection,” the Commission said today. The relocations would cost €50 million over the next two years. Countries would be allocated quotas of migrants dependent on criteria including their population and GDP, as well as their domestic unemployment rate and the number of asylum claims they receive.
This is how that would break down:
The plan has many problems. The commission will have to persuade member states to take part. (The UK, Ireland, and Denmark already have opted out of such arrangements.) Also, the migrants chosen to take part in the resettlement program may not wish to go where they’re sent—and the commission plans to make staying in place for five years a condition of inclusion in the program.
There is no mention of how migrants “in most need” will be chosen, but the 20,000 figure is only a tiny fraction of the number of people trying to reach Europe. There were 625,920 asylum seekers in Europe in 2014, according to Eurostat (pdf), up from 431,090 the year before. That’s only counting people who manage to lodge asylum claims and not those who get turned back, who manage to enter countries undetected, or who die on the way.
The commission says it will adopt a recommendation for European resettlement scheme by the end of May.