EU pushes through plan to relocate 120,000 refugees amid oppositions
Updated: 2015-09-23 10:36
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks at a conference on the European Union budget in Brussels, Belgium, September 22, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
But he stressed that the agreement has won the vote by a very large majority among the member states. "A majority going beyond that required by the Treaties," he added.
"I have no doubt that they will implement these decisions fully as they are used to be doing and as all of us are used to do in full respect of community law," Asselborn told reporters.
But, the response from Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico may shatter Asselborn's confidence.
"I would rather go to an infringement than to accept this diktat," Fico said of the decision, quoted by Slovakia's leading SME daily.
Of the 120,000, the nine countries of central and eastern Europe are being asked to take around 10,000, while the figure for Germany and France will double that.
However, the European Commission welcomed the result in a statement following the emergency talks and made salutations in particular to Luxembourg, the current holder of the EU presidency.
The EU executive body said it will organize the necessary coordination with member states and the EU agencies to implement the mechanism on the ground.
Relocation is part of a comprehensive approach to deal with the ongoing refugee crisis, the European Commission said.
"This decision is an important and essential building block in what is a much larger approach that we will have to take," said Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the European Commission.
Noting the decision itself may not solve the refugees 'crisis, Timmermans said it is a crucial position to take the next steps to ensure better protecting EU's external borders.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, European commissioner in charge of Migration, expected the process to start in the coming weeks.
"Now that we agreed on the numbers we will ensure swift implementation for plans in close coordination with the national borders and the EU agencies," he said.
The interior ministers are expected to move forward on the other proposals made by the European Commission, including the EU List of Safe Countries of Origin and the further reform of the Dublin system, at the next Justice and Home Affairs Council on Oct. 8.
At the same time, the European Commission pledged to address the root causes of the refugee crisis.
The statement said Wednesday's meeting of EU heads of state and government would discuss the immediate priority actions which are necessary to address the instability in EU's vicinity, and the refugee pressures on neighboring countries.