EU to resettle 30 000 refugees throughout bloc by 2017

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday said some 30 000 refugees in Greece will be relocated throughout the EU by next year, claiming that the 28-nation bloc has made “significant progress” tackling irregular migration despite internal quarrels.

“The refugee crisis is not over, and this is why the progress of today must be sustained,” Avramopoulos said during a press conference in Brussels, unveiling the European Commission’s assessment of the migration crisis in Europe.

“The success of our common approach over the last months is essential for the success of everything else; from relocation, resettlement and the EU-Turkey statement, to the gradual return to the Dublin system and a normal functioning of Schengen,” he added.

The EU last year forced through a plan to relocate refugees from frontline countries, including Italy, despite strong criticism from former communist nations, including Poland and Hungary.

The Visegrad group, comprised of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia, refused to take in refugees after the measure was passed, prompting a political crisis in the bloc. But Budapest has taken it a step further by scheduling a referendum for October on whether to accept the quotas.

“We have made significant progress as a Union, but we have more work ahead of us – and urgently: All member states need to take up their responsibilities and we will continue to support them,” Avramopoulos noted.

However, 30 000 refugees is far below the number of asylum seekers hosted by Germany and Sweden since last year. Germany is expected to process more than one million asylum applications in 2016, according to its federal migration authority.

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(Photo: DW/M Ilcheva)