Europe has struggled to come up with a cohesive plan to deal with the more than 1 million migrants who have reached Europe in the past two years.
BRUSSELS — European Union (EU) authorities, seeking to balance the scale of the migration crisis with the reluctance of some countries to take in refugees, offered a series of proposals Wednesday that would give member states more latitude while offering them 10,000 euros (about $11,100) for each refugee they accept.
Europe has struggled to come up with a cohesive plan to deal with the more than 1 million migrants who have reached Europe in the past two years, and the proposals from the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, reflect a renewed effort to impose clearer rules for countries and migrants.
The commission proposed common procedures for resettling refugees from camps in countries outside the bloc, such as Turkey, that would give member states the option of joining together to decide the overall number of people to take in and how to spread out the refugees among those nations.
That represents a form of solidarity among the willing, although it is unlikely to include countries such as Hungary and Slovakia that have resisted taking in more migrants, and it falls short of a mandatory system that would be applied across the EU.
Most Read Nation & World Stories
- She was told surgery would cost about $1,300. Then the bill came: $229,000
- CDC urges adults 50 and older to get a 2nd booster
- Sports on TV & radio: Local listings for Seattle games and events
- The angry white populist who paved the way for Trump
- Don’t take a rapid COVID test too soon: How and when to swab
A separate, mandatory program to relocate asylum seekers who have used clandestine routes to enter the bloc has fallen far short of expectations. Member states were unwilling to share the burden of the huge migrant influx, and just 3,000 migrants of an intended 160,000 have been relocated.
Under the terms of the new proposal, which formalizes some existing, temporary measures, the voluntary system would be supported by a cash incentive to resettle migrants from camps outside the EU. The rules need approval from EU governments and the European Parliament before becoming law.
The figure of 10,000 euros was previously available to member states that accepted refugees from outside the bloc under a temporary two-year system for 22,000 people set up last year. About 8,000 refugees have benefited from that program.
The bloc has been overhauling its asylum and migration rules in the wake of a major crisis last year, when huge numbers of migrants arrived from Africa and the Middle East. Many traveled through Turkey and crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece before settling in Germany.
The proposals were directed at both member states and migrants, with measures intended to deter those registered as asylum seekers in one state from leaving for another by specifying “clear obligations,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration.
The EU requires migrants to register for asylum in the first country they reach in the bloc. Many have been forced to register in Greece — the most popular landing point — even though they would rather go elsewhere.
Migrants who break the rules could face rapid rejection of their applications, officials at the commission said.
Jean Lambert, a British member of the European Parliament, criticized the proposed rules on asylum, saying the new duties represented “further retrograde steps in a number of areas of asylum policy” and “an obsession with punitive measures.”
The number of arrivals has dropped significantly since the EU reached an agreement with Turkey to crack down on human smuggling across the Aegean, a short but perilous crossing.
On Wednesday, the bodies of four migrants, including two children, were pulled from the Aegean Sea after a dinghy capsized off the coast of the Greek island of Lesbos.
An official at the Greek Shipping Ministry said the bodies of a girl, a boy, a man and a woman had been recovered, and that six people had been rescued near the island, which has been overwhelmed by asylum seekers trying to reach Europe. Three other people were believed to be missing.