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EU ministers can't reach agreement on immigration

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Staff Writer | November 21, 2016
European Union interior ministers were at odds on Friday over how to handle immigration.
Thomas De Maiziere
Europe and immigrants   "We want a system that would be effective"
"We are looking for compromises but at the moment they are not there," said Thomas De Maiziere of Germany, which last year took in about 900,000 migrants and refugees.

The ministers disagreed over a proposal by the EU's current chair Slovakia on reforming the bloc's asylum system, which collapsed last year as 1.3 million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa reached Europe and member states quarrelled over how to handle the influx.

Overall, the arrivals have decreased from last year but they continue unabated in Italy and tens of thousands of people are still stuck in Greece and Italy, sometimes in dire conditions.

Despite agreeing last year to relocate 160,000 people from Italy and Greece, eastern European countries, including Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, have refused to take any in.

"We cannot pretend that the quotas as we know them now are working," said Robert Kalinak of Slovakia.

"The 160,000 is only a very small part of the million that came to Europe last year and we only relocated less than 10,000 people. Even those who were for this system were not successful. We want to come up with a system that would be effective."


 

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